Turkish Parliament Extends Emergency State for Another Three Months
Ankara – The Turkish parliament approved on Monday a bill submitted by the government to extend the state of emergency in the country by three months.
The Turkish government submitted the bill to the head of parliament, following a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Earlier on Monday, the Turkish president presided over a meeting of the National Security Council, which requested the government to prolong the emergency state, which had sparked criticism by the Turkish opposition, the European Union and Turkey’s allies in the West.
On Saturday, the country witnessed massive celebrations and rallies marking the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt.
Speaking during a celebration, Erdogan announced that the state of emergency would be extended until the threat of terrorism was eliminated in the country, warning that the coup attempt might recur and that the state of emergency did not violate rights and freedoms in the country.
“It only aims to clean the institutions from the followers of Fethullah Gulen”, he said.
Since the declaration of the state of emergency last year, more than 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 150,000 have been fired or suspended from work by various state bodies and public institutions for alleged links with Gulen. This has raised widespread concern among the Turkish opposition and the European Union over Erdogan’s use of the coup attempt to eliminate all his opponents.
In parallel, a commission formed by the Turkish government has begun reviewing claims of those who have been dismissed from the public sector since the failed coup attempt.
According to government data, more than 142,000 people have been dismissed from their jobs in the public sector and the military under the state of emergency.
The committee began on Monday receiving objections from those dismissed, to determine who is entitled to return to work or receive compensation.
In the same context, the Republican People’s Party – the largest opposition group in Turkey – reiterated its strong rejection of the extension of the emergency state.
The party’s head, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, expressed his willingness to carry out more protests in the streets, following the “march of justice” from Ankara to Istanbul, which lasted 25 days, during which around two million people demanded the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press and expression.
“I’m not afraid,” Kilicdaroglu said in an interview with The Times. “There is a serious lack of democracy in this country and someone needs to take a stand against it. Our main goal now is to pull Erdogan out of his palace. We are determined to do so,” he added.