The Turkish parliament has approved the three-month extension of the country’s state of emergency, which was initially implemented after a failed July coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ahead of the voting on Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus stressed government’s determination “to fight against all terrorist organizations.”
“With the attack in Ortakoy, they wanted to give different messages comparing to other terrorist attacks. One of these messages is: ‘We will continue to cause trouble to people in 2017’. Our reply is clear. Regardless of which terrorist organization they are, regardless of by whom they are supported, and regardless of their motivation, we are determined to fight all terrorist organizations in 2017 and we will fight till the end,” he said in reference to the New Year’s Eve terrorist attack on a nightclub that killed 39 people.
It also increases the time that suspects can be detained without charges being issued.
It was imposed in Turkey a few days after the July 15 abortive putsch that began when a faction of the Turkish army declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of President Erdogan was no more in charge.
Over 240 people were killed on all sides in the attempted coup d’état that was blamed on the movement led by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Pennsylvania-based cleric denies the allegation.
The Turkish government claims the state of emergency is required to eliminate the traces of Gulen’s influence on in Turkish institutions. Ankara has launched a crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the failed coup, in a move that has sparked criticisms from human rights groups and the EU.
Over 41,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen since the investigation was launched, while over 103,000 more have been investigated over suspected ties to the cleric.
The move to extend the state of emergency was hinted in November by Erdogan while he was reacting to the European Parliament’s censure over the emergency powers it granted the government and their support for freezing membership talks with Turkey.
“What’s it to you?…Is the European Parliament in charge of this country or is the government in charge of this country?” he said.