EU reaction mixed as Turkey lifts state of emergency
In a statement, the EU reminded President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government that “concrete and lasting improvements” on the rule of law were essential for closer ties between Brussels and Ankara, which is in talks to join the bloc.
“We believe the adoption of new legislative proposals granting extraordinary powers to the authorities and retaining several restrictive elements of the state of emergency would dampen any positive effect of its termination,” it added.
Erdoğan declared the emergency on July 20, 2016, five days after warplanes bombed Ankara and bloody clashes broke out in Istanbul in a doomed putsch bid that claimed 249 lives.
The measure, which normally lasts three months but was extended seven times, ended at 1 a.m. on July 19 after the government decided not to ask for an eighth extension, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The state of emergency saw the detention of nearly 80,000 people and about double that number sacked from jobs in public institutions. Over 200 media organizations, foundations and schools allegedly linked to terror networks were also shut down in this period in which the Turkish Lira struggled to keep its value against the United States dollar and the euro, falling to record lows.
The biggest purge of Turkey’s modern history has targeted alleged supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based preacher blamed for the coup, as well as those who are allegedly supporters or members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is also recognized as a terror network by the EU.
With the lifting of the state of emergency, it urged Ankara to reverse “all measures that continue to undermine the rule of law, independence of the courts and basic democratic freedoms.”
“Concrete and lasting improvements in the area of rule of law and fundamental freedoms remain essential to the prospects of EU-Turkey relations,” it said.