The Turkish government renewed the state of emergency for the third time on Monday, beginning from Wednesday, April 19.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters the government was acting on the advice of the National Security Council (MGK). The NSC is chaired by President Erdogan. But, the decision is controversial as it takes place in the aftermath of Tayyip Erdogan’s victory by a whisker (51,4%) in Sunday’s referendum, granting him new sweeping new powers.
In theory, to enact a state of emergency, the government must see “serious indications of widespread violence that could interfere with Turkey’s democratic environment or its citizens’ basic rights and freedoms as established by the Constitution,” the state Anadolu Agency recalls.
The government is arguing that there are such threats. Turkey is facing a Kurdish revolt in the South-East and the spill-over effects of the Syrian conflict. “The decision to recommend extending the state of emergency was taken in order to ensure the continuity of precautions to protect democracy, the rule of law, and the rights and freedoms of our citizens,” Kurtulmus said.
Under the state of emergency, over 47,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of links to the July 15 attempted coup, while the government has embarked on a mass lustration campaign across the public and the private sector, ensuring the dismissal of police officers, academics, journalists, teachers, judges, and prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party is calling for a recount of unstamped referendum ballots, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called Erdogan’s public campaigning “a misuse of administrative authorities.” The foreign ministry called on the OSCE to “know its place” and abstain from politically motivated accusations.