Sunday 22 April 2018

Turkish parliament approves state of emergency after failed coup

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declares a three-month state of emergency (AP)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declares a three-month state of emergency (AP)

The Turkish parliament has endorsed sweeping new powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that allow him to expand a crackdown in the wake of last week's failed coup.

Legislators in the 550-member parliament voted 356-115 to approve a three-month state of emergency across Turkey.

Mr Erdogan had earlier said the new powers will give his government the tools it needs to rid the military of the "virus" of subversion.

Deputy PM Mehmet Simsek said the state of emergency will be used to act swiftly against the perpetrators of the coup.

He insisted the state of emergency will be different to those imposed in the country previously and that the rule of law will be upheld.

"We will use it in a fashion closer to our allies like France and others," he said.

However, he had already announced plans to suspend the European Human Rights Convention in line with an article contained within the agreement allowing for it in time of emergencies.

He said the government will go after "rogue" elements within the state as he warned there could have been "carnage in the streets" had the coup succeeded.

"We owe it to our people to go after them. We will have a legal framework for it."

The state of emergency will see a crackdown which has already included mass arrests and the closure of hundreds of schools stepped up.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish state media said a further 32 judges and two military officers had been detained by authorities.

Nearly 10,000 people have now been arrested and about 60,000 civil service employees have been dismissed.

The targeting of education ties in with Mr Erdogan's belief that the cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers run a network of schools worldwide, seeks to infiltrate the Turkish education system and other institutions in order to bend the country to his will.

The US-based cleric's movement, which espouses moderation and multi-faith harmony, says it is a scapegoat.

Turkey experienced a national state of emergency in the immediate years after martial law was declared in 1980 following a coup. It was also declared across the restive south-east region between 1978 and 2002.

Press Association

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