Turkish Parliament approves bill extending state of emergency powers for another year

A new bill extending state of emergency regulations for another year has been approved by the Turkish Parliament despite objections from opposition parties and civil society, Turkish Minute reported, citing Deutsche Welle Turkish service.

The bill extends emergency measures governing the dismissal of civil servants by the government and providing extra pre-detention periods for people who are taken into custody as part of terrorism investigations. These measures will be in place until July 31, 2022. However, another emergency measure concerning the seizure of companies allegedly linked to terrorist groups has been extended until 2024.

The legislation, proposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was approved with the votes of the AKP and its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Turkey witnessed serious human rights violations when thousands of people were removed from their jobs, detained or jailed during a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016. The purge hit followers of the faith-based Gülen movement the hardest as the movement is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the failed coup. However, the movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.

Hundreds of companies were also seized by the government on the grounds that they had links to terrorist groups.

The government finally ended the state of emergency in June 2018 after extending it seven times; however, some state of emergency powers were kept in place.

The AKP government issued numerous controversial decrees during the state of emergency that continue to affect the lives of many.

The omnibus bill approved by parliament includes extended powers to dismiss public employees on charges of terrorism as well as holding suspects taken into custody as part of “anti-terror measures” in detention for up to 12 days.

Opposition parties and some civil society groups objected to the bill, accusing the AKP of trying to keep the state of emergency measures in place for its own benefit and warn that the measures could affect the security of the presidential and general elections to be held in 2023 as well as the local elections scheduled for 2024.

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