ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey has extended for another three months a state of emergency imposed across the country after an abortive coup in mid-July.
“The state of emergency will be extended for another 90 days starting October 19,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday during a briefing with journalists about the results of a cabinet meeting earlier in the day.
Turkey introduced the state of emergency on July 20, after it declared the end of a coup attempt by a group of military officers. More than 270 people were killed in incidents surrounding the July 15 coup attempt.
The state of emergency has allowed the government to launch a harsh crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the botched coup.
Ankara has arrested more than 32,000 people as part of the crackdown, accusing most of the suspects of having ties to Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of masterminding the coup. Tens of thousands have also been dismissed or suspended from their positions in the military and public institutions.
The opposition has fiercely criticized the widening crackdown, with top figures in the Republican People’s Party (CHP) accusing the government of capitalizing on the failed coup to stifle dissent.
The CHP leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said Sunday that Turkey had been turned into a “semi-open” prison following the start of the coup-related crackdown.
“We have imprisoned writers, journalists and artists. We are actually living in a semi-open prison, but we’ll continue to resist,” Kilicdaroglu said in a speech highlighting the rising number of jailed journalists and writers in the country.
Western governments and major rights campaigners have also censured the crackdown, saying Ankara has acted beyond the law in its hunt for coup plotters.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected criticisms about the need for a prolonged state of emergency, saying the measure could be kept for at least a year.