Turkey’s top national security body has called for an extension to the controversial state of emergency imposed after the July 15 coup. Some 32,000 suspects remain in custody in the unprecedented crackdown.
“The emergency should be extended to ensure the protection of our democracy, rule of law, rights and freedoms of our citizens,” the National Security Council (MGK) said in a statement after a meeting on Wednesday chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his presidential palace in Ankara.
The statement reportedly makes the announcement of the new state of emergency a formality. The MGK did not say whether the next period should also last three months.
The ongoing three-month state of emergency declared on July 20 less than a week after the failed coup has provided the legal framework for the biggest crackdown in Turkey’s modern history.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told NTV television on Wednesday that 70,000 people had been investigated after the attempted putsch on July 15, with 32,000 of them remanded in custody.
Bozdag said that there could be new arrests but gave no no indication as to when trials might start.
Turkish media reports say the authorities plan to build 174 new prisons over the next five years, which would increase the country’s current prison capacity of less than 200,000 by another 100,000.
The council also recommended that July 15 should in future years be marked as Turkey’s annual “Day of Democracy and Freedoms” the statement said.
Opposition speaks out
Activists have accused Ankara of eroding the rule of law with the emergency.
The leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Wednesday made his most severe criticism yet of the crackdown, saying the CHP was against the state of emergency which he said had affected one million “victims” across Turkey. “We must defend justice… I will resist this persecution,” Kilicdaroglu said in a televised speech from the city of Tokat.