Turkish President Erdogan Signals Post-Coup Emergency State Extension

Turkish President Erdogan Signals Post-Coup Emergency State Extension
Thu Sep 29, 2016 20:47:17

Turkey’s president has suggested the possibility of prolonging for over a year the three-month state of emergency declared following the abortive July 15 military coup, stressing that such a move would be beneficial for the country.

“It would be in Turkey’s benefit to extend the state of emergency for three months,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech to a group of provincial administrators at the presidential palace in the capital, Ankara, on Thursday.

The remarks came as rights groups and Turkey’s main opposition party have criticized an extension of the state of emergency, saying it would lead to greater crackdown and the suffering of innocent people.

“They (critics) say one year isn’t right for Turkey. Let’s wait and see, maybe 12 months won’t be enough,” Erdogan said, adding that no one should determine a “calendar or roadmap” for Turkey.

The comments by the Turkish president came one day after the National Security Council recommended the extension of the state of emergency, which was instituted on July 20.

The council, comprising political and military leaders and chaired by Erdogan, argued that the extension is required “to take measures to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens.”

Elsewhere in his Thursday’s remarks, Erdogan estimated that Turkish citizens would support the extension as the measure has so far sped up what he called Ankara’s fight against terrorism.

“This state needs time to be purged of these terrorist organizations’ extensions. Right now we’re racing against time,” Erdogan further pointed out.

The coup began when a faction of the Turkish military declared it was in control of the country and the government was no more in charge.

Tanks, helicopters, and soldiers then clashed with police and people on the streets of the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul. Between 200 and 300 people were killed on all sides in the attempted coup d’état.

Ankara said Fethullah Gulen was behind the putsch but the US-based opposition cleric rejected the accusation.

The Turkish government launched a sweeping crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the failed coup. More than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended, while around 40,000 people have been detained since July 15.

Erdogan behind the Failed Coup: Gulen

In another development on Thursday, Gulen told the German weekly Die Zeit that he was sure Erdogan was behind the putsch, emphasizing that it must have been planned in advance.

“Until now I only thought that was a possibility. Now I think it’s certain,” Gulen said.

A Turkish officer had recently said that the chief of general staff and the intelligence chief met in the army headquarters during the night of the military coup, adding, “They already knew everything that would happen later.”

The cleric also noted that the putsch gave Erdogan the opportunity to dismiss his opponents in ministries, military, police and judiciary as well as to arrest lawyers, businessmen and journalists.

Turkey wants the US to extradite Gulen. However, the opposition figure said that he did not think Washington would hand him over and if the US decided to do so he would buy himself a ticket and fly to Turkey.

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