Turkey to ‘follow France’ and suspend European rights convention

Turkish civilians in commandeered APC. Istanbul, 16 July. [DubTV/YouTube]

Turkey will follow France’s example in suspending temporarily the European Convention on Human Rights following its declaration of a state of emergency, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Thursday (21 July), according to broadcaster NTV.

President Tayyip Erdoğan announced a three-month state of emergency late on Wednesday (20 July) after last weekend’s failed military coup, saying it would enable the authorities to act more efficiently to bring those responsible to justice.

France declared its own state of emergency following last November’s attacks by Islamist militants in Paris.

In comments quoted by NTV, Kurtulmus also said Turkey’s state of emergency could end within one to one and a half months.

Turkey's Erdogan declares state of emergency after coup bid

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a state of emergency on Wednesday (20 July) as he widened a crackdown against thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service and academia after a failed military coup.

He identified “structural and individual” intelligence failures during the coup attempt and also said that work was underway to restructure the army, NTV reported.

‘Mind your own business’

The Turkish leader lashed out at critics of the government’s actions, telling France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault — who had warned Erdoğan not to use the failed coup as a carte blanche to silence his opponents — to “mind his own business”.

“If he wants a lesson in democracy, he can very easily get a lesson in democracy from us,” Erdoğan told Al-Jazeera.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed it was “vital that the state of emergency is limited for the required time and then immediately lifted”.

“Only acts which are legally punishable can be targeted, not political opinion.”

Austria said it will summon Turkey’s ambassador to discuss Ankara’s “increasingly authoritarian” behaviour while Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, said a crackdown on pro-Gülen media was the latest challenge to press freedom in the country.

Turkey has stepped up pressure on Washington to extradite Gülen, sending several “dossiers” it says are packed with evidence about his alleged involvement.

Gülen has urged Washington to reject the extradition call and dismissed as “ridiculous” the claim he was behind the botched coup.

Erdoğan, asked if other countries could have been involved in the coup, told Al-Jazeera: “There could be.”

The government says 312 people were killed in the coup, including 145 civilians, 60 police, three soldiers and 104 plotters.

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