Main opposition CHP slams AKP for declaring ‘indefinite’ state of emergency
ANKARAThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for announcing on May 21 that the state of emergency will remain in place “until peace is fully provided.”
“At first you said you were introducing the state of emergency for just one month. It’s been 10 months now. You say ‘It will continue until comfort prevails [in Turkey].’ But the state of emergency has cut off the country’s veins of democracy. Democracy is bleeding,” CHP Deputy Group Chair Özgür Özel said in a press conference on May 22.
Özel was speaking after the AKP’s extraordinary convention on May 21, in which Erdoğan returned to the party and was once again elected as its chairman.
“People in the country are almost unable to breathe because of the lack of democracy, injustice, inequalities and mistreatment. Under these circumstances, the only person who feels himself safe, happy and calm is President Erdoğan,” Özel said.
The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on July 21, 2016, just days after the failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
At first the state of emergency was in place for an initial three-month period but it has since been extended three times.
There are growing criticisms of the government’s use of the broad authorities granted by the state of emergency, which have resulted in the arrest of thousands of civil servants, including high-ranking generals, as well as the dismissal of around 100,000 civil servants on the grounds that they are linked with what the government and prosecutors refer to as the Fethullah Terror Organization (FETÖ).
Özel also criticized the “democracy, change and reform” theme of the AKP’s extraordinary convention.
“It’s really stunning. After 15 years in power he says ‘I’ll bring about democracy.’ Well, you should have protected it better in the first place,” he said.