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Turkey cabinet agrees to extend emergency after referendum

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A handout picture taken and released on April 8, 2017 by the Turkish Presidential Press Service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivering a speech during a campaign rally for the “yes” vote in a constitutional referendum on the Yenikapi Square in Istanbul. On April 16, 2017, the Turkish public will vote on whether to change the current parliamentary system into an executive presidency.<br />Yasin BULBUL / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP

The Turkish cabinet agreed late Monday to extend for another three months the state of emergency imposed after last July’s failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the deputy premier said.

The decision comes after a meeting of the National Security Council (MGK), chaired by Erdogan, to recommend its extension.

“The recommendation was considered and the Council of Ministers signed to extend the state of emergency for another three months from Wednesday,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara.

The emergency was due to end on April 19. Its extension follows the approval by Turkish voters of constitutional changes boosting Erdogan’s powers on Sunday.

The state of emergency has been renewed twice before in October and January after it was first declared on July 20, five days after the attempted putsch.

Now the decision will go to parliament for final approval, Kurtulmus said.

The deputy prime minister said the decision was not made to give the Turkish government free rein but because of its “fight against terrorist groups”.

“In this struggle, whatever is necessary will be done” against those accused of links to putschists, Kurtulmus said.

Under the state of emergency, over 47,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of links to the coup while tens of thousands more people working in the public sector have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs.

Many are academics, police officers, journalists and teachers as well as judges and prosecutors. The crackdown has been heavily criticised by Turkey’s Western allies.

Over 51 percent of Turks voted in the referendum in support of changes that will axe the role of premier and allow the president to appoint ministers.


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