Supporters of the "No" march at Istanbuls' Besiktas to submit their petition to call for the annulment of a referendum that approved sweeping constitutional changes boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, claiming blatant vote-rigging had swung the result. Photo: AFP
ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish parliament voted to extend the status of a state of emergency in the country for another three months.
It is the third extension since last July’s deadly failed military coup. The powers allow governments in Turkey to impose curfews, forbid access to some public and private areas, and restrict social meetings, gatherings and rallies.
Turkey’s Council of Ministers and National Security Council (MGK), which are chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday, had approved the measures prior to its submission to parliament.
The Council of Ministers had advised the extension of the current state of emergency "in an attempt to provide the continuance of measures aimed at securing the rights and freedoms of citizens," according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
On Monday and Tuesday night, there were large public demonstrations following the affirmation of 18 constitutional changes via national referendum.
The protests included the three biggest cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, all of which voted 'No' to the referendum.
The international rights organization Human Rights Watch had asked Erdogan to end the state of emergency in a statement on Monday.
“Turkey’s government and president need to end the state of emergency and the repressive campaign against the media and the pro-Kurdish political opposition,” Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote.
A state of emergency can be declared for a maximum period of six months, according to the Turkish constitution.
“The state of emergency is not an issue of fantasy for Turkey or a measure to ease the hands of the government,” Numan Kurtulmuş, a spokesman for the government and deputy prime minister told reporters after a cabinet meeting late on April 17.
“A very tough struggle is being carried out against all terror organizations,” Kurtulmuş said. This is not just a matter of the government. This is about the security of Turkey, a matter of survival.”
Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 20 after the failed coup attempt killed 249 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, which the Turkish government blames on followers under the direction of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States.
Fethullah Gulen denied the accusations.
The crackdown saw roughly 100,000 people lose their jobs, including judges, lawyers, teachers, journalists, military officers and police. More than 40,000 people have been arrested and jailed, including pro-Kurdish lawmakers Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas on charges alleging links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).