Government, opposition split on state of emergency
AA photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has reiterated its call to the government to not extend the state of emergency, stressing the importance of “returning to normalcy” and “re-establishing democratic order” in Turkey.
“Turkey needs to return to its normal order as soon as possible, leaving state of emergency behind. I hope that the state of emergency due to expire on July 19 will not be extended,” CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Levent Gök told ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials during the latter’s courtesy visit to the main opposition party on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr on June 26.
Parliament imposed state of emergency on June 20, 2016 five days after the failed military coup attempt, saying it was necessary to effectively fight against what prosecutors call the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), believed to be behind the putsch.
Thousands of people have been arrested on charges of taking part in the coup attempt and of being FETÖ members, while more than 100,000 civil servants have been expelled.
The state of emergency has been repeatedly extended since it was first announced, despite opposition criticisms that the government has abused the extensive powers granted by the state of emergency to crack down on all opposition groups, regardless of whether they have links to FETÖ.
The CHP’s criticisms are largely shared by the EU, which considers the state of emergency as the most important obstacle to launching a meaningful dialogue with Ankara and continuing negotiations on a number of issues, including visa liberalization and accession negotiations.
AKP: State of emergency necessary
Gök said the CHP lent any possible support to the government in the fight against coup plotters.
“That’s why we believe there is no need for state of emergency. We can overcome our problems through our own legal means,” he added.
AKP deputy Murat Alparslan, who led his party’s delegation during the visit to the CHP, stressed that the fight against FETÖ and its supporting groups was continuing “at full speed.”
“Our wish is that this fight will be openly won and that there will be no conditions to make state of emergency necessary. However, as long as these conditions exist it may be necessary for our state to fight more efficiently,” Alparslan said, recalling that the AKP had removed a previous state of emergency after it came to power in 2002.
He also said the decision on whether to extend the state of emergency will be given by parliament after debates at the General Assembly.
MHP: State of emergency must be extended
A harsher reply to Gök came from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, who said the state of emergency must be extended.
“The state of emergency must continue. Issues included within the scope of the state of emergency must be effectively addressed with determination. Those who try to present the state of emergency as something against democracy or freedoms are biased under the influence of the July 15 coup attempt,” Bahçeli said.
The MHP has 36 seats at parliament and has recently become a key AKP ally on very crucial issues. The two parties allied during the April 16 referendum campaign that paved the way for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return to his political party as chairman and to drastically change Turkey’s political system into an executive presidential model.