New measures before emergency rule ends in Turkey
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group deputy chair Bülent Turan told reporters on July 16 that the state of emergency in Turkey, which was put into effect in the wake of the defeated coup attempt on July 15, 2016, will be lifted as of July 18, but “the fight against terrorism will not be interrupted.”
Turan said the government has sent the draft to all parties, before submitting it to the parliament speaker’s office.
According to the draft, local governor’s offices have been given the authority to limit the entry and exit of people to certain places in the provinces if they suspect that the person in question will “disrupt the public order.”
The draft has also broadened reasons to ban demonstrations.
The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on July 20, 2016 following the deadly coup attempt widely believed to have been orchestrated by U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen’s network, which Turkish authorities refer to as FETÖ. On April 18, the government renewed the ongoing state of emergency for the seventh time.
Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said on July 16 that the emergency rule will come to an end “within a few days.”
“The state of emergency will end within a few days. However, ending the state of emergency should not be deemed as ending the struggle [against terrorism]. The fight against terrorism, the most persistent and determined fight against all kinds of terrorism, especially the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ], will continue till the end,” he said in a speech at the International Struggle Against Coup and July 15 Symposium held in Istanbul on July 16.
Gül also praised the Turkish judiciary’s efforts in putting the coup plotters on trial.
“All the investigations directly related with the coup attempt, except one file, have been completed. Some 2,161 defendants have been on trial in 94 separate files in courts. The trials of 195 files were completed in the first instance courts whereas the final verdicts were given in two cases after the court of cassation review. In those cases, 2,382 defendants were given sentences ranging from aggravated life imprisonment to several years of jail time,” he said.
A top Turkish presidential aide said on July 13 that the state of emergency was expected to be lifted on July 18.
“If we are faced with a very extraordinary threat, the state of emergency mechanism can be declared again,” İbrahim Kalın told reporters after the country’s first Cabinet meeting under the new presidential system.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had repeatedly urged the government not to extend the state of emergency which it called a “means to crack down on dissidents” in Turkey.
On April 16, two days before the emergency rule was renewed for the seventh time, the CHP organized sit-in demonstrations with the slogan “We want democracy, not the state of emergency.”
Bekir Bozdağ, then-government spokesperson, slammed the protests at the time, accusing the CHP of using the methods of “terrorists” and not doing any work.
“They cannot stop the Justice and Development Party [AKP] by doing sit-ins. We will carry on. My advice to them is now is not the time to sit; now is the time to rise,” Bozdağ had said.