Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as he widened a crackdown against thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service and academia after a failed military coup.Erdogan said the state of emergency, lasting three months, would allow his government to take swift and decisive measures against supporters of the coup and was allowed under the constitution.Emergency rule, which would take effect after it is published in Turkey’s official gazette, would allow the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary.
Erdogan made the announcement during a live television broadcast in front of his government ministers after a nearly five-hour meeting of the National Security Council.“The aim of the declaration of the state of emergency is to be able to take fast and effective steps against this threat against democracy, the rule of law and rights and freedoms of our citizens,” Erdogan said.He also pointedly rebuffed criticism from Western governments that have accused him of going too far in efforts to neutralise suspected opponents. About 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended, detained or are under investigation since Friday’s military coup attempt.
The failed putsch and the purge that followed have unsettled the country of 80 million, a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran and Western ally in the fight against Islamic State.Before announcing the state of emergency, Erdogan said the sweep was not yet over and that he believed foreign countries might have been involved in the attempt to overthrow him.Speaking through an interpreter in an interview with broadcaster Al Jazeera, Erdogan dismissed suggestions that he was becoming authoritarian and that Turkish democracy was under threat.“We will remain within a democratic parliamentary system. We will never step away from it,” he said.