Turkey’s ruling party deputy says state of emergency will be lifted on July 18

Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Mustafa Elitaş on Monday said a state of emergency that was declared in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 15, 2016 will be eliminated on July 18 as it will not be extended any longer.

The state of emergency, known as OHAL in Turkish, 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.

Before snap presidential and general elections held on June 24, the AKP promised in its election manifesto to keep the state of emergency in place until “our national security and the peace of our citizens are fully maintained.”

Speaking to reporters in Kayseri, Elitaş said if the new government, to be formed now that the June elections are over, does not send a motion to Parliament for the extension of the state of emergency, the legislature will have no authority to extend it any further.

“My impression is that Mr. President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] will not take such a step [for the extension of the state of emergency]. In this regard, I think OHAL will be removed on the night of July 18,” said Elitaş.

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.

Erdoğan won 53 percent of the vote in the presidential election, extending his rule until at least 2023, while his AKP received 43 percent of the nationwide vote.

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

“If I continue to be in this post after June 24, my first job will be to end OHAL. There is not the slightest [negative] reflection of OHAL on the election campaigns. Give me an example. Which campaign has OHAL affected and where?” Erdoğan said during a TV program on June 14.

Despite calls from opposition parties to the government to terminate the state of emergency before the elections so that they could be held in a democratic and fair environment, Erdoğan had insisted on keeping it in force. (turkishminute.com)

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