Turkey extends state of emergency for sixth time

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The Turkish Parliament on Thursday passed a prime ministry motion extending a state of emergency for another three months, the sixth such extension since it was originally put in force in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in favor of the extension, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were opposed.

United Nations human rights experts on Jan 17 urged the Turkish government not to extend the exceptional legal measures it has taken under its declared state of emergency, due to expire on Jan. 19, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced on its website.

The Turkish Parliament on Oct. 17 had extended the state of emergency for three more months.

“The routine extensions of the state of emergency pose significant challenges to the effective protection of human rights, as emergency powers are used to suspend the operation of obligations of the Turkish government,” the UN experts said.

“We are deeply worried about severe crackdowns on civil society, including journalists, the media, human rights defenders, jurists, academics, and civil servants, as well as the use of various powers in ways that are inconsistent with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights,” the UN experts added.

Under emergency rule, the government has pressed ahead with many controversial decrees that have the force of the law. In line with these decrees, about 150,000 people including academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, judges, prosecutors, artists and journalists have been purged from state bodies on coup charges.

Following the coup attempt last year, the AKP government declared emergency rule in Turkey, on July 20, 2016, which became effective with a government decree issued on July 23, 2016. It was extended five times for another three months on Oct. 19, Jan.19, April 19, July 20 and Oct. 17.

The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

A total of 1,188 people were detained in the first two weeks of 2018 as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.

Moreover, 62,895 people were detained in 2017 as part of investigations into the movement, according to Interior Ministry reports.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Jan. 5 said 48,305 people were jailed in 2017 alone over Gülen movement links.

Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people have been jailed and 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

Soylu on Nov. 16 had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.

The Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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