Turkey security body says emergency should be extended

Istanbul: Turkey’s top national security body chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said a three-month state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15 coup bid should be extended when it expires in October.

“The decision was taken to recommend extending the state of emergency in order to continue ensuring the protection of our democracy, rule of law, rights and freedoms of our citizens in an efficient manner,” the National Security Council (MGK) said in a statement yesterday after a meeting in Ankara at Erdogan’s presidential palace.

The state of emergency has provided the legal framework for the biggest crackdown in Turkey’s modern history that has so far seen 32,000 alleged supporters of the coup arrested, according to justice ministry figures.

Erdogan declared the three-month state of emergency on July 20 less than a week after the failed coup, meaning it had been due to expire in mid October.

The statement by the MGK makes the announcement of the new state of emergency a formality but did not say whether the next period should also last three months.

The crackdown and state of emergency have troubled Turkey’s allies but Ankara says the measures are needed to tackle supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who it blames for the coup. Gulen denies the charges.

Separately, the council also recommended that July 15 should in future years be marked as Turkey’s annual “Day of Democracy and Freedoms”, the statement said.