Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan left a special session in the Turkish Parliament on Monday earlier than expected when opposition party leaders directed criticism at the government for an ongoing state of emergency in the country.
Parliament convened for a special session on the occasion of April 23, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, during which main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chairperson Pervin Buldan slammed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, led by Erdoğan, for keeping the state of emergency in effect.
The state of emergency was declared for three months on July 20, 2016 due to a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. It was extended for another three months on Oct. 19, 2016, Jan.19, 2017, April 19, 2017, July 21, 2017, Oct. 16 2017 and Jan. 18, 2018. Emergency rule was extended for another three months last Wednesday for the seventh time.
The opposition leaders’ remarks on the state of emergency attracted protests from the AKP and deputies from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which also strongly backs emergency rule.
Erdoğan walked out of Parliament as he described the debates on the state of emergency as “scandalous.”
The state of emergency has granted Erdoğan and his government extraordinary powers. Under it, the government has pressed ahead with many controversial decrees that have the force of the law and are not required to be approved by Parliament. In line with these decrees, more than 150,000 people have been purged from state bodies on coup charges.