Turkey’s parliament extended the emergency rule that was declared in the wake of last year’s coup attempt by another three months on July 17. This marks the fourth time the government has asked the legislature to extend the state of emergency. The emergency rule allows the government to rule by decree.
The government maintains that the state of emergency and the purges are necessary to confront the threats the Gulenist network poses to the country’s national security. The Gulenists had infiltrated the country’s key institutions, including the judiciary, the military and the police force prior to the coup attempt and paralysed elements of the entire system, according to the government.
In speeches in Ankara and Istanbul over the weekend, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to continue the crackdown on the suspected coup plotters and their supporters. The government holds the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers responsible for the botched putsch. Since emergency rule was imposed last year, about 50,000 people were arrested and nearly 120,000 were dismissed from state institutions, while 965 companies with assets of around TRY 41bn ($11.3bn) were seized.
The main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) criticised the extension of the emergency rule: “The state of emergency has merely harmed the economy and polarised the entire population of Turkey,” CHP group deputy Engin Altay told reporters on July 17, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said his party would carry out more street protests. Kilicdaroglu concluded his three-week “Justice March” with a massive rally in Istanbul on July 9. The opposition leader set out from the capital Ankara on June 15 after one of his deputies, Enis Berberoglu, was jailed on espionage charges. At the Istanbul rally Kilicdaroglu called for an end to the state of emergency.
Meanwhile the government has claimed that more than 6mn people attended the nationwide events which marked the first anniversary of the failed coup.