As State of Emergency Ends, Turkey Mulls New Terror Laws

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seen here in 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: President of Russia

ANKARA, Turkey — As Turkey’s two-year state of emergency comes to an end, the government is set to introduce new anti-terrorism laws it says are needed to deal with continued security threats. The opposition insists the laws are just as oppressive as the emergency powers they will replace.

Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency days after a violent failed coup attempt in 2016 and extended it seven times since then.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had pledged not to prolong it when it expires at midnight Wednesday as part of a campaign promise ahead of last month’s elections, which he won.

Instead, a parliamentary committee is on Thursday scheduled to debate government-proposed legislation which among other things, would allow authorities to press ahead with mass dismissals of civil servants and hold some suspects under custody for up to 12 days. A vote in the general assembly could be held next week.

Under the state of emergency, Turkey has arrested over 75,000 people for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara blames for the failed attempt. Some 130,000 civil servants have been purged from government jobs for purported links to terror organizations.