Turkey’s main business lobby calls for end to emergency rule

By bne IntelliNews January 23, 2018

Turkey’s main business lobby has called on the government to end the 19-month-long state of emergency introduced in July 2016 after the failed coup.

At the end of last week, parliament extended it for a sixth time, giving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the right to rule by decree. More than 60,000 people have been arrested since emergency rule was introduced and 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.

Rights groups and some of Turkey’s Western allies fear Erdogan is using the crackdown to crush his opponents. Freedom House, a US-based watchdog, downgraded Turkey to “not free” from “partly free” in its annual report last week.

In order to preserve its international reputation, Turkey needs to start normalising rapidly, Erol Bilecik, the head of the TUSIAD business lobby said, according to Reuters.

“The first step in that regard is bringing an end to the state of emergency,” he reportedly told a meeting in Istanbul.

The state of emergency has negatively impacted foreign investors’ decisions, another senior TUSIAD executive said, the news service reported. “As Turkey takes steps towards becoming a state of law, direct investments will increase, growth will accelerate, more jobs will be created,” Tuncay Ozilhan said, adding that he hoped this would be the last extension of emergency rule.

Some 30 emergency decrees have been published since the failed coup. They contain 1,194 articles and cover defence, security, the judiciary, education and health, widely restructuring the relationship between the state and the citizen, Reuters said.

Turkey has also become the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. Some 160 journalists are in jail.

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