MHP leader says party fully supports extension of emergency rule

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Leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli has said his party fully backs the extension of emergency rule, which went into effect in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15.

“OHAL [state of emergency] should continue until terror organizations like the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and DHKP/C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front] are eliminated,” Bahçeli told reporters after his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

Emergency rule was declared for three months on July 21. It was extended for another three months on Oct. 19 and will officially expire on Jan.19, 2017. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and government officials say emergency rule could be extended further.

In remarks that appeared in the Hürriyet daily on Monday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said his government would abolish emergency rule before a referendum is held on the switch to a presidential system of governance.

When asked whether a referendum on an executive presidency could be held under emergency rule, Bahçeli said: “As a journalist, you go to your newspaper under OHAL. You do your job. What’s the problem?”

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Erdoğan are seeking to introduce an executive presidency in Turkey under which Erdoğan will enjoy more executive powers.

Under emergency rule, the government has pressed ahead with many controversial decrees, which have the force of law and are not required to be approved by Parliament. In line with these decrees, around 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies on coup charges.

In addition, dozens of media outlets have been closed down under emergency rule, which has left thousands of journalists unemployed.

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