Turkey's Erdogan declares state of emergency
21 July 2016, 09:40
Ankara -Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday declared a
three-month state of emergency, vowing to hunt down the "terrorist"
group behind last week's bloody coup attempt.
He has accused
followers of his arch-enemy, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen of being
behind the coup, which has led to a wave of some 50,000 arrests and
sackings of suspected conspirators.
The state of emergency was
needed "in order to remove swiftly all the elements of the terrorist
organisation involved in the coup attempt," Erdogan said at the
presidential palace in Ankara.
Although the special measure vastly increases state security powers, Erdogan vowed there would be "no compromise on democracy".
announcement followed long meetings of Turkey's national security
council and cabinet chaired by Erdogan at the presidential palace.
had in 2002 lifted its last state of emergency, which had been imposed
in provinces in the southeast for the fight against Kurdish militants in
Article 120 of the constitution allows a state of emergency
to be imposed "at a time of serious deterioration of public order
because of acts of violence."
Global concern has grown as Turkish
authorities have arrested or fired troops, police, judges, teachers and
other civil servants in the aftermath of Friday's failed bid to seize
power by rebel troops.
Earlier Erdogan lashed out at critics of
his sweeping purges, telling France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
-- who had warned the Turkish leader not to use the failed coup as a
"blank cheque" to silence his opponents -- to "mind his own business".
he have the authority to make these declarations about my person? No,
he does not. If he wants a lesson in democracy, he can very easily get a
lesson in democracy from us."
Earlier Wednesday US Secretary of
State John Kerry, flanked by allied foreign ministers, said that while
"we condemn this coup", it was important that the response to it "fully
respects that democracy that we are supporting".
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, in more direct comments, said that
in Turkey "nearly every day we are seeing new measures that flout the
rule of law and that disregard the principle of proportionality".
in an Al-Jazeera interview insisted that the arrests and suspensions
had been carried out "within the law", adding that "of course that does
not mean we have come to the end of it" -- also voicing concern that the
failed putsch may not have been "the end of coup attempt".
- 'Killed or kidnapped' -
putsch left more than 300 dead and caused scenes of devastation,
especially in Ankara where fighter jets and attack helicopters turned
parts of parliament and the police headquarters to rubble.
government has cracked down hard on alleged rebel soldiers, formally
arresting 99 of 118 detained generals and admirals, and also placing in
custody thousands of troops, with some later seen bruised and wounded.
was in the Aegean resort of Marmaris when the coup struck and then,
narrowly escaping the rebel soldiers, flew to Istanbul where he had
stayed since, appearing before huge crowds of flag-waving supporters
Turkish authorities have launched an operation to find 21 commandos who are suspected of the attack on Erdogan's hotel.
told CNN this week his life had been in grave danger. "If I stayed (in
Marmaris) 10, 15 minutes more, I would either have been killed or
kidnapped and taken away by them," he said.
- 'Flout the rule of law' -
says the coup was masterminded by Gulen and the massive crackdown
appears to be targeting individuals suspected of any connection to
Turkey has stepped up pressure
on Washington to extradite him, sending several "dossiers" it says are
packed with evidence about his alleged involvement.
Gulen issued a
statement on Tuesday urging Washington to reject the extradition call
and dismissed as "ridiculous" the claim he was behind the botched coup.
75-year-old reclusive cleric lives in Pennsylvania but retains vast
interests in Turkey ranging from media to finance to schools and wields
influence in various arms of the state, including the judiciary and
Asked if other countries could have been involved in the coup, Erdogan told Al-Jazeera: "There could be."
Gulen organisation has another superior mind, if u will, and the time
will come when those connections will be deciphered," said Erdogan.
their first telephone conversation since the attempted overthrow,
President Barack Obama pledged US assistance to Erdogan for the
investigation into the putsch, which has threatened to once again raise
tensions between the uneasy NATO allies.
The government says 312 people were killed in the coup, including 145 civilians, 60 police, three soldiers and 104 plotters.