Opposition CHP MP continues to grow beard in protest at Turkey’s emergency rule
Selahattin Sönmez – ANKARA
AA photoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Mersin lawmaker Aytuğ Atıcı is continuing to grow his beard in protest at Turkey’s state of emergency, declared after the failed July 2016 coup attempt.
Atıcı had previously announced that he would not to cut his beard until emergency rule was lifted, and his beard has now reached a length of 15 cm.
“Fellow citizens are supporting my protest. They say, ‘You look like Father Christmas.’ But I’m not Father Christmas, I’m ‘Father State of Emergency.’ I will not cut my beard for as long as the state of emergency continues,” he said.
The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on July 21, 2016, just days after the failed coup attempt, widely 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.
On May 22, the CHP criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for announcing 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.
There is growing criticism 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 the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).