Turkey’s Erdoğan: Daily lives of citizens unaffected by state of emergency

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Amid international calls on the government to lift a state of emergency (OHAL) that was declared in Turkey on July 20, five days after a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the daily lives of citizens have not been affected by emergency rule.

In a speech for the 178th anniversary of the establishment of the gendarmerie on Wednesday, Erdoğan said, “None of our citizens’ daily lives have so far been influenced by the state of emergency.”

Despite calls from international rights organizations and the European Union, Erdoğan had promised at the end of May not to end the ongoing state of emergency and called for the continuance of a witch-hunt against the faith-based Gülen movement, during the third extraordinary congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Speaking to the crowd at the Ankara Sports Hall, Erdoğan had then said: “They ask when OHAL will be lifted. In my country, there was an attempt to destroy the state. How can you ask when OHAL will be lifted? It will not be lifted. Why should OHAL be lifted before this county reaches peace and prosperity?”

On April 18 Parliament approved a three-month extension to the state of emergency, which allows the government to issue decrees that have the force of the law and do not need to be approved by Parliament.

The extension decision was criticized by organizations such as Human Rights Watch, which said the Cabinet decision to extend emergency rule would further endanger human rights and the rule of law, which were already badly damaged in Turkey under the state of emergency.

A letter written in April to Frederica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, by a group of human rights and journalist organizations expressed concern about yet another extension of the state of emergency in Turkey, saying that “the far-reaching discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish authorities during the nine months of the state of emergency have deeply undermined the rule of law and human rights safeguards.”

A total of 942 companies with a combined value of TL 40.5 billion and 44,868 employees have been seized by the government.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 14, 2017

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