Turkish govt to consider state of emergency after failed coup

Detained Turkish soldiers who allegedly took part in last Friday's coup attempt arriving at the Istanbul courthouse yesterday. So far, about 9,300 people have been detained, including 118 generals and admirals accused of treason for allegedly masterm
Detained Turkish soldiers who allegedly took part in last Friday's coup attempt arriving at the Istanbul courthouse yesterday. So far, about 9,300 people have been detained, including 118 generals and admirals accused of treason for allegedly masterminding the plot as well as soldiers, policemen and judges. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

President Erdogan meets security chiefs to decide new measures as harsh crackdown on coup players continues

ISTANBUL • The Turkish authorities will consider extraordinary measures after last week's failed coup, including the introduction of a state of emergency, said the ruling AK Party deputy chairman Cevdet Yilmaz yesterday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met top security officials for the first time since last Friday night's thwarted coup amid a widening purge of state institutions.

Following a National Security Council meeting in Ankara, Mr Erdogan gathered ruling AK Party government ministers as well as the full Cabinet in a series of meetings.

The National Security Council "may take some steps" if it decides that a state of emergency is necessary, Mr Yilmaz told Haberturk television in an interview.

Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli told Bloomberg HT television in an interview on Tuesday that measures to be announced would include a "new framework in line with the Constitution" for the prosecution of the coup plotters.

  • Turkey launches fresh air strikes against Kurdish militants

  • ISTANBUL • The Turkish armed forces have carried out their first air strikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since last week's coup attempt, killing 20 fighters, the state media reported yesterday.

    Turkish F-16 fighter jets hit targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq on Tuesday, said Anadolu news agency, quoting security sources.

    Former Turkish air force chief General Akin Ozturk, 25 other former generals and many soldiers have been arrested, suspected of planning last Friday's attempted coup, in which rebel troops used jets and tanks to try to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the resumption of fighting between Turkish security forces and the PKK after a largely successful 21/2-year truce.

    The ceasefire had sparked hopes of a final peace deal to end Turkey's three-decade conflict with the PKK.

    Instead, the PKK has returned to routine attacks on security forces, who have hit back with relentless operations in Turkish urban centres and air raids in the mountains of south-east Turkey and PKK bases in northern Iraq.

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The government's crackdown in reprisal for the coup attempt has been swift and severe. About 9,300 people have been detained, including 118 generals and admirals accused of treason for allegedly masterminding the plot as well as soldiers, policemen and judges.

The Defence Ministry is investigating all of the country's military judges and prosecutors and has suspended 262 of them, private broadcaster NTV reported yesterday.

In total, about 48,800 state employees, including policemen and teachers, have been dismissed from their posts or detained, according to figures published by the Hurriyet daily and broadcaster CNN Turk.

On Tuesday, the government suspended 15,200 state education employees and demanded the resignation of almost 1,600 deans from private and state universities over alleged links to US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen. Mr Erdogan has blamed the coup attempt on supporters of Mr Gulen.

Also, 21,000 people working in private education will have their licences removed and will be banned from teaching in the future, the Hurriyet newspaper said.

Turkey's higher education council banned academics from work trips abroad and urged those overseas to quickly return home. And 245 employees of the Youth and Sports Ministry have been fired.

The purges have unsettled Turkey's allies and investors by raising concerns that Mr Erdogan's response may be an overreach that will further destabilise society and weaken the country's institutions.

Mr Erdogan's suggestion that the death penalty could be reinstated has sent shudders through Europe, with the European Union warning that such a move would be the nail in the coffin of Turkey's already embattled bid to join the bloc.

Germany, meanwhile, has condemned Turkey's escalating crackdown, saying the hardline response "flouts the rule of law".

"Nearly every day we are seeing new measures that flout the rule of law and that disregard the principle of proportionality," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters yesterday.

"There is no doubt that they are deeply worrying."

Mr Seibert and French President Francois Hollande have both warned that reinstating the death penalty would end Turkey's EU membership talks.

Late on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama, in a phone call with Mr Erdogan, urged the Turkish leader to act in a way that was "consistent with the democratic" values of the country's Constitution. The US relationship with Turkey is being tested by Ankara's request that Washington sends Mr Gulen back.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'Turkish govt to consider state of emergency after failed coup'. Print Edition | Subscribe