Turkish deputy PM: Emergency rule extended to purge Gülenists

Turkish Deputy Premier Numan Kurtulmus (L), with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. [Wikimedia]

Turkey’s parliament voted overnight to extend emergency rule by three months in a move which the government said was needed to sustain a purge of supporters of the US-based Muslim cleric accused of directing July’s coup, state media said on Wednesday (4 January).

Emergency rule, first imposed in Turkey after an attempted putsch on 15 July and then extended in October, enables the government to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms when deemed necessary.

The extension, effective from 19 January, comes as Turkey reels from a series of attacks by Islamist or Kurdish militants, most recently on Sunday (1 January) when a lone gunman shot dead 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub during New Year celebrations.

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Ankara accuses Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gülen and his supporters, whom it terms the Gülenist Terror Organisation (FETO), of being behind the July coup attempt. Gülen denies the allegations.

“The purge of FETO from the state has not been completed. We need the implementation of emergency rule until FETO and all terror groups have been purged from the state,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in parliament ahead of the vote.

More than 41,000 people have been jailed pending trial in connection with the attempted coup out of 100,000 who have faced investigation.

Some 120,000 people, including soldiers, police officers, teachers, judges and journalists, have been suspended or dismissed since the coup, although thousands of them have since been restored to their posts.

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