Turkey state of emergency expires after two-year crackdown

Turkey state of emergency expires after two-year crackdown
2 min read
18 July, 2018
Opposition activists warn of increasing authoritarianism in Turkey despite the country's emergency law coming to an end.
Turkey's state of emergency expires at 1am on Thursday in Turkey [Anadolu]

Turkey's state of emergency imposed after the failed 2016 coup is set to expire after midnight on Wednesday, amid warnings from the country's opposition that the government will replace it with repressive measures.

The state of emergency had been extended seven times as the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan carried out a far-reaching crackdown, raising concerns about increasing authoritarianism in Turkey.

Around 80,000 people were detained - and around double that number were sacked from state jobs - as part of the crackdown against alleged supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed putsch.

"Over the last two years, Turkey has been radically transformed with emergency measures used to consolidate draconian powers, silence critical voices and strip away basic rights," said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director in a statement.

"Hundreds of journalists, human rights defenders and activists, including Amnesty International Turkey's, Taner Kılıc, have been detained simply for doing their jobs," he added.

While Turkey's post-coup crackdown has focused on suspected Gulenists, the government also used to opportunity to suppress opposition from Kurdish activists.

The former leaders of the opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) - Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas - are still languishing in jail following their arrest in November 2016 on charges of links to Kurdish militants.

Turkey also stands as the biggest jailer of journalists, having imprisoned over 120 since July 2016.

With the emergency law on the way out, opposition figures have focussed on new legislation submitted by the government that allegedly seeks to formalise some of the harshest aspects of the emergency.

Under the proposed legislation, the authorities will retain for three more years the power to sack civil servants deemed linked to "terror" groups, retaining a key power of the state of emergency.

Protests and gatherings will be banned in open public areas after sunset, although they can be authorised until midnight if they do not disturb the public order.

Local authorities will be able to prohibit individuals from entering or leaving a defined area for 15 days on security grounds.

And suspect can be held without charge for 48 hours or up to four days in the case of multiple offences.