Latest gov’t decree to keep some OHAL practices in place in Turkey

The Turkish government will abolish a state of emergency (OHAL) that was declared in the aftermath of the controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, but it will retain some of the authorities granted to it during the state of emergency with the latest government decree to be issued on Monday, according to a report by the online news outlet Artı Gerçek  on Friday.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Thursday that the state of emergency would be lifted and a new cabinet announced on Monday. He also said a final government decree would be issued that “will include necessary measures to avoid vulnerabilities in the area of counterterrorism once the state of emergency is over.”

With the termination of the state of emergency, some controversial OHAL practices such as the 30-day detention period, restrictions on lawyers’ access to the files of their clients and expanded authorities granted to governors will no longer be in effect.

According to a report on the CNN Türk news website, government officials made a lengthy presentation to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about which OHAL practices should remain in effect and how.

The government decided that some OHAL practices could remain in effect by adding them to the Code on Criminal Procedure in the final government decree to be issued.

It is expected that the authorities of governors and the police will be expanded in the final government decree. Governors will be able to create safe zones in terror regions, impose temporary curfews, cancel demonstrations in provinces out of security concerns and close down places where there is terrorist activity or propaganda.

As for the police, they will have expanded authorities to monitor and search individuals and seize their belongings.

The state of emergency was declared for three months on July 20, 2016 due to the abortive coup. It has so far been extended seven times, the last time being in April.

The state of emergency has granted Erdoğan and his government extraordinary powers. Under it, the government has pressed ahead with many controversial decrees that have the force of law and are not required to be approved by Parliament. In line with these decrees, more than 150,000 people have been purged from state bodies on coup charges.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Yıldırım said on Friday that there will be expulsions of public officials from many state agencies in the final government decree.

“Most of the expulsions will be in the police force and the TSK [Turkish Security Forces],” Yıldırım told reporters at Çankaya Palace.

Erdoğan won 53 percent of the vote in the presidential election held on June 24, extending his rule until at least 2023, while his Justice and Development Party (AKP) received 43 percent of the nationwide vote in the general election on the same day.

Before the elections, Erdoğan said several times that he would remove the state of emergency if re-elected president.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with

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