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Turkey: State of Emergency Extended Another Three Months

(Jan. 10, 2017) On January 3, 2017, the Grand National Assembly (GNA, Turkey’s parliament) voted to extend the state of emergency in the country for an additional three months. Emergency rule had been approved by the GNA on July 21, 2016, and took effect on July 21 for three months; it was then extended for another three months on October 11, taking effect on October 19.  (Gulsen Solaker & Daren Butler, Turkey Extends Emergency Rule to Maintain Purge of Gulen Supporters: Deputy PM, REUTERS (Jan. 4, 2017); Olağanüstü Halin Uzatilmasına dair Karar [Decree on Extension of the State of Emergency], Decree No. 1134 (Jan. 3, 2017), RESMÎ GAZETE [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], No. 29939 (Jan. 5, 2017); Olağanüstü Halin Uzatılmasına dair Karar [Decree on Extension of the State of Emergency], Decree No. 1130 (Oct. 11, 2016), RESMÎ GAZETE, No. 29856 (Oct. 13, 2016) (click on link under “TBMM Kararı”); Karar Sayısı: 2016/9064 [Decree No.: 2016/9064], RESMÎ GAZETE, No. 29777 (July 21, 2016).)

Before the GNA vote, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus stated to members of the parliament, “[t]he purge of FETO [referring to the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization] from the state has not been completed. We need the implementation of emergency rule until FETO and all terror groups have been purged from the state … .” (Solaker & Butler, supra.) President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling party, the Justice and Development Party, attribute the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt to Gülen, a Turkish Muslim cleric living in the United States, and his followers in Turkey. (Id.)

Constitutional Provisions on the Declaration of a State of Emergency Due to Violence

Under article 120 of the Turkish Constitution, a state of emergency may be declared because of “serious indications of widespread acts of violence aimed at the destruction of the free democratic order established by the Constitution or of fundamental rights and freedoms, or serious deterioration of public order because of acts of violence.” (Constitution of the Republic of Turkey (Oct. 18, 1982, as last amended Mar. 17, 2011), art. 120; Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasasi (Oct. 18, 1982, as last amended by Law No. 6718 of May 20, 2016, in force on June 8, 2016).) The Council of Ministers, chaired by the President of Turkey, “after consultation with the National Security Council, may declare a state of emergency in one or more regions or throughout the country for a period not exceeding six months.” (Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, art. 120).

When a state of emergency is declared, the decision is published in the Official Gazette (Resmî Gazete) and immediately submitted to the GNA for approval.  (Id. art. 121 ¶ 1.)  The GNA “may alter the duration of the state of emergency, extend the period for a maximum of four months each time at the request of the Council of Ministers, or may lift the state of emergency.”  (Id.)