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Turkey Coup Attempt: Recep Tayyip Erdogan Declares State of Emergency for Three Months


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency for three months following the failed army coup in Turkey.

The state of emergency allows the president and cabinet to bypass parliament when drafting new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.

Speaking at the presidential palace in Ankara, President Erdogan vowed that “all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed”.

Thousands of people have been arrested or sacked since the failed coup.

More than 600 schools have also been closed and thousands of state workers sacked in a crackdown by the president.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after announcing the state of emergency: “This measure is in no way against democracy, the law and freedoms.”

The government will be allowed to rule by decree, with the powers of regional governors increased.

A re-organization of the police, intelligence services and the command structure of the armed forces is also expected.

Critics of President Erdogan have accused him of consolidating power on a scale largely unprecedented since Turkey’s first democratic elections in 1946 and of using the emergency to acquire more power for the presidency.

They say the president normally would need to alter the constitution to create an executive presidency and win back some of the powers he relinquished when his tenure as prime minister ended in 2014.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised those who were killed fighting against the coup as “martyrs”. Some 246 people were killed resisting the attempted coup, according to the government.

He was speaking after holding meetings of Turkey’s national security council and the cabinet in the capital.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech by urging the Turkish government to maintain both the rule of law and a sense of proportionality in its response to the coup attempt.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the coup attempt on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whose followers run a worldwide network of schools.

He has called for Fethullah Gulen to be extradited to Turkey, but Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 20 that Turkey must provide hard evidence the cleric was behind the coup attempt for any extradition to take place.

Earlier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of further arrests and suspensions to come as Turkish authorities continued to pursue those they believed responsible for the thwarted putsch.