Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 7 News List

Turkish lawmakers to approve emergency rule

CRACKDOWN:The president said that the nationwide measure would allow Turkey to clear the nation of ‘terrorists’ linked to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen


Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan burn an effigy of the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen during a pro-government demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Turkish lawmakers were yesterday expected to approve Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request for a three-month state of emergency in the wake of last week’s failed coup.

In an address to the nation late on Wednesday, Erdogan announced a Cabinet decision to seek additional powers, saying the state of emergency would give the government the tools to rid the military of the “virus” of subversion.

“This measure is in no way against democracy, the law and freedoms,” Erdogan said after a meeting with Cabinet ministers and security advisers.

Under the terms of the Turkish constitution, lawmakers have to approve a request for a state of emergency. Of the 550 members of parliament, 317 are members of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.

The state of emergency will give the government sweeping powers to expand a crackdown that has already included mass arrests and the closure of hundreds of schools.

However, the emergency decision was published in the official gazette yesterday morning, meaning that it has now officially entered into force.

Erdogan said the nationwide measure would allow Turkey to be cleared of “terrorists” linked to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of masterminding the failed coup from Pennsylvania.

In a hugely unusual move after the state of emergency was announced, Erdogan early yesterday read out the morning call to prayer through loudspeakers at the mosque inside his presidential complex, the pro-government Yeni Safak daily said.

Meanwhile, mobile users across Turkey received text messages sent by “RTErdogan” urging people to stay in the streets to resist “the terrorists.”

“The owners of the squares are not the tanks. The owners are the nation,” Erdogan said in the text message.

Warning that his opponents might launch new provocations, Erdogan urged his supporters to remain in squares across the country in what he called a “vigil” for democracy.

Turkish state media yesterday said a further 32 judges and two military officers have been detained by authorities during the crackdown since last week’s coup.

Nearly 10,000 people have been arrested, while hundreds of schools have been closed and nearly 60,000 civil service employees have been dismissed.

German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Turkey’s state of emergency should only last as long as it’s “absolutely necessary.”

Steinmeier said it was important that “the rule of law, a sense of proportion and commensurability are preserved” and that it was in Turkey’s interest to “keep the state of emergency only for the duration that is absolutely necessary and then immediately end it.”

Any action stemming from the new powers should only be taken against those with “a provable involvement in punishable actions” and not “an alleged political attitude,” Steinmeier added.

In related developments, eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece after the failed coup yesterday went on trial for illegal entry in a case that threatens to strain ties between the NATO allies.

Additional reporting by AFP

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