President Erdoğan says emergency rule could be extended upon expiry

President Erdoğan says emergency rule could be extended upon expiry

ANKARA - Reuters
President Erdoğan says emergency rule could be extended upon expiry

The state of emergency imposed on Turkey after the July 2016 failed coup attempt could be extended further after it expires this month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 13.

“If the time expires, we’ll extend it. There is no obstacle in front of it,” Erdoğan told private broadcaster TGRT.

Emergency rule enables the government to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms when deemed necessary. 

Erdoğan made his comments days before the referendum on constitutional amendments, including a shift to an executive presidency a parliamentary one. 

Two opinion polls showed on April 13 that a narrow majority of Turks will vote “yes” in the referendum.

First declared on July 20, 2016, the state of emergency was extended on Jan. 19 for an additional three months in a move the government said was needed to sustain arrests of supporters of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the coup attempt. It has been criticized by Erdoğan’s opponents, who say it is being used as a pretext to crush dissent.

Since then, more than 100,000 people from a wide range of professions have been sacked or dismissed and scores of media outlets closed over alleged links to the Gülen network or other militant groups.