Turkish gov’t decides to extend rule of emergency for another three months

Turkish government has decided to extend the rule of emergency (OHAL) for the sixth time for an additional three months following an advisory decision made by the National Security Council (MGK), said Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ on Monday.

Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting, Bozdağ said that the government will ask Turkish Parliament again to extend the rule of emergency, which is due to expire Jan. 19, 2018, marking the sixth extension. The rule of emergency was first imposed by Turkish government after a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The emergency rule was previously extended on Oct. 19, 2016, Jan.19, 2017, April 19, 2017, July 20, 2017 and Oct. 17, 2017.

According to the Turkish Constitution, a rule of emergency can be declared for a maximum period of six months. During the rule of emergency, the cabinet has the right to issue statutory decrees under the president of the republic without regard to routine procedures and restrictions in Article 91 of the constitution. These decrees are first published in the Official Gazette and then submitted to parliament for ratification.

The Constitution requires that in order to enact the rule of emergency, the government must see serious indications of widespread violence that could interfere with Turkey’s democratic environment or its citizens’ basic rights and freedoms as established by the Constitution.

The AKP issued a number of government decrees through which tens of thousands of academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, businessmen, artists and journalists have been purged due to their real or alleged connections to the Gülen movement as well as opponents from liberal and left groups in Turkey.

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

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. Turkey’s Interior Minister had announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, 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.

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