The Turkish government on Thursday ended the two-year state of emergency imposed after a failed coup attempt in 2016, state media said on Thursday. After renewing the emergency seven times, the government decided against extending it, BBC reported.
The decision comes weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected. Ahead of the polls, Erdogan had promised to lift the state of emergency if brought back to power, but had said the government would also bring in new counter-terrorism laws and take tough action against any threat to the country’s security.
A proposed legislation to keep some measures which were in place during the emergency is likely to be introduced in Parliament next week, Al Jazeera reported.
More than 250 people were killed during the coup attempt on July 20, 2016. Many people the government has dismissed from public service during the emergency are alleged to be supporters of exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan. Gulen now lives in the United States and is accused of organising the coup, a charge he has denied.
Opponents believe lifting the emergency will not change the status quo. “Although the government is trying to disguise the new laws as an end to the state of emergency, what is really going on is that the emergency is being made permanent,” Reuters quoted Ayhan Bilgen, spokesperson for the pro-Kurdish HDP party, as saying.
The new anti-terrorism laws, which the government says will prevent “an interruption in the fight against terrorism”, will be discussed in the Turkish Parliament on Thursday. They will grant local governors power to limit access for specific people to parts of their province if they suspect that the person will disrupt public order.
The International Commission of Jurists, a group of judges, lawyers, and legal scholars who campaign for human rights, welcomed the move, with qualifications. “We remain concerned that many of the emergency measures have been given permanent effect in Turkish law and will have pernicious and lasting consequences for the enjoyment of human rights and for the rule of law in Turkey,” said Massimo Frigo, a legal adviser to the commission.