Turkey extends state of emergency for 4th time

Turkish Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman

The Turkish Parliament has extended for three more months a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, the fourth such extension since it was originally put in force.

A motion to extend the state of emergency was submitted to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on Monday and voted by the General Assembly. The state of emergency, known as OHAL, has been in force since July 20 of last year, after the putsch. It has been extended several times and would normally expire on July 19.

The European Union has been calling on Turkey to end the state of emergency since last fall. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) strongly oppose the state of emergency.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly supports the continuation of emergency rule despite widespread criticism. He recently said the state of emergency would continue as long as the fight against terrorism continues.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed about 160,000 judges, teachers, academics, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced on July 7, 2017 that at least 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 are the subject of legal proceedings. The state of emergency will remain in effect until at least Oct.19.

Unprecedented in the country’s history, the massive purge under the rule of emergency (OHAL) removed about 160,000 public officials from their posts in the army, judiciary, bureaucracy and universities without any due process and they were declared as terrorists or affiliated or in association with terror groups by simply putting their names in law-decrees without any administrative or judicial investigation and without individual reasoning based on any solid evidence.

Tens of thousands of military officers, civil servants, journalists, teachers, doctors, union members, academics and others have been arrested under the emergency rule. One of the hardest hit groups has been the judiciary, with 30 percent of all the judges and prosecutors (4,424) losing their jobs and many being imprisoned without an indictment, trial or conviction. Likewise, 30 percent of the career diplomats working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been purged, declared as terrorists and the senior ambassadors who represented Turkey overseas for years have been arrested on trumped-up charges of terror and coup-plotting.

According to the official records, 51,889 people — most of whom are housewives, teachers, students, doctors and shopkeepers– have been arrested for their alleged links with the Gülen movement, a civic group inspired by the US-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. 2,099 educational institutions including top-performing universities, best high schools have been shut down.

965 private companies have been taken over by the government on dubious charges and assets and wealth of many private individuals including journalists were seized without any trial and conviction.

Nearly 200 independent, critical and dissident media outlets have been closed, 264 journalists have been imprisoned, and arrest warrants have been issued for 105 journalists who fled Turkey or remain at large in the country.

Hundreds of associations, foundations and civil society organizations have been shuttered under OHAL. Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, the co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in Parliament by the number of seats, and 11 lawmakers from the same party as well as one lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are still in prison pending trials. (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 17, 2017

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