GeriGündem Fingerprint plan for ID cards raises debate
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Fingerprint plan for ID cards raises debate

ANKARA - A draft bill that anticipates the use of fingerprints on national identity cards for adult citizens has sparked controversy among Turkish lawmakers.

According to the draft bill, which was approved by the parliamentary planning and budget commission, a biometrical fingerprint will be included on the identity cards to be given to all Turkish citizens over 16 years of age. Some deem the move a kind of "genetic stigmatization," while the parliamentary human rights commission considers whether it is compatible with individual rights.

Human Rights Commission Chairman Zafer Üskül, who is working on the draft of the bill, said it could violate human rights to take a record of certain individual data without legally protecting such information.

"We are examining the two laws on the protection of individual inputs and the use of fingerprints on identity cards in Parliament," said Üskül. "First, the personal data should be safeguarded by laws. Otherwise, it could violate human rights to copy personal information and record fingerprints. We will follow the issue at every stage."

Commission member Ahmet Ersin of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said the move is likely to have disadvantages.

"People approach the issue cautiously and skeptically, as many institutions in Turkey, from the security department to the national intelligence agency, are used to stigmatize citizens. The issue should be investigated in terms of human rights," Ersin said. "The move gains further importance in a period in which everybody has concerns about the privacy of their lives. If the content of such a move expands to cover more people, as evidenced in the case of wiretapping, then it is normal for the concerns to increase," he said.
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