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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters
Image: Reuters/Turkish Presidency

Turkey extends state of emergency

July 17, 2017

The extension will grant the government continued authority to rule by decree and restrict rights. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested the state of emergency could last several years.


The Turkish government on Monday voted to extend for another three months a state of emergency imposed after last July's failed coup attempt. 

The state of emergency has been used to stifle dissent and enable President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government to rule by decree.

Read: Questions abound, one year after Turkey coup that wasn't 

More than 50,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 people suspended from employment under the emergency orders, prompting concern over the rule of law and democracy in the strategic NATO member.

Graphic showing dismissed public employees in Turkey

The purges also raise concerns that the bureaucracy and military will be further stacked with Erdogan loyalists, sending the country down the path of one party and one man rule with few checks and balances.

Highlighting those worries, ten human rights activists, including Amnesty International Turkey director Idil Eser, were in court on Monday to face terrorism related charges.

Read: Turkish opposition gains new momentum

The targeting of human rights defenders and similar earlier crackdowns on lawyers and associations raises the question of who will be left to defend the tens of thousands of people caught up in the post-coup purge.

Turkey marks failed coup anniversary

Read: Turkey purges continue a year after failed coup

Marking the one year anniversary of the coup over the weekend, Erdogan suggested coup plotters should be brought before courts wearing Guantanamo style prison outfits after one defendant showed up to court wearing a "hero" t-shirt.

"We will rip the heads off of these traitors," Erdogan said, referring to the Gulen movement the government blames for the coup attempt and Kurdish militants. He has said he would approve any parliamentary measure to bring back the death penalty.

Anniversary celebrations came a week after the leader of the main opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, ended a nearly 450-kilometer (280-mile) "March for Justice" from Ankara to Istanbul by holding a rally attended by more than a million people calling for an end to emergency rule and injustice.