Turkey extends emergency rule for another three months

Veteran journalists Şahin Alpay and Ahmet Turan Alkan, who were columnists for now-closed Zaman daily, were arrested as part of the post-coup witch hunt in Turkey under the emergency rule.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government extended emergency rule for another three months during a National Security Council (MGK) meeting chaired by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday.

During the meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara, it was decided to extend emergency rule and send it to Parliament for approval.

The state of emergency, first declared on July 20 for three months following a failed coup attempt on July 15, was extended for three months in October and January and was expected to end on April 19.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, a global civil society movement inspired by the views of the US-based Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The government, by emergency decree, took over hundreds companies, seized the assets of businessmen and shut down institutions linked to the movement.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.

Under the state of emergency Turkey has been the worst jailer of journalists in the world. SCF has recently announced the number of journalists behind bars reached to a new record with currently 231 languishing in Turkish jails, most without a trial and convictions. Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet. Also 92 journalists are wanted and 839 have been charged in Turkey.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention. (SCF with turkishminute.com) April 18, 2017


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