A series of draft laws covering security, approved by the Council of Ministers, has created a public outcry on social media, on the grounds that the new laws will lead to human rights violations and invasion of privacy.
The draft laws, which have to be ratified by the Assembly, allow police to monitor and record telephone conversations, to infiltrate suspected organisations and record conversations and photograph or film in public and work spaces.
Government officials say the new laws are necessary in the fight against the upsurge in organised crime and drug trafficking.
A recent series of underworld-style crime including arson and racketeering has called into question the capabilities of the police. The police say that they have received threats by crime organisations and have called for wider powers to deal with crime.
In response, there were allegations on social media that North Cyprus would become a police state.
“They promised to put the police under civilian control,” wrote journalist Cenk Mutluyakali in Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeniduzen’. “They are putting civilians under police control instead.”
Secretary-General Tufan Erhurman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) is also a critic of the draft laws, saying that they pose a risk in terms of human rights.