January 8, 2018 / 3:08 PM / a year ago

Turkey to extend state of emergency for another three months, Deputy PM says

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will extend the state of emergency imposed after the 2016 coup attempt for another three months, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday, the sixth such extension of an emergency rule that has ushered in a sweeping crackdown.

Emergency rule allows the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms. More than 50,000 people have been arrested since its introduction and 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from their jobs in the military, public and private sectors.

The crackdown has alarmed rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies, who say President Tayyip Erdogan is using the arrests to quash dissent, pushing the NATO members on a path to greater authoritarianism.

“The state of emergency will be extended again,” Bozdag told reporters following a cabinet meeting. He said the national security council was due to discuss the extension and that the cabinet would later approve it.

The current period of the emergency rule is scheduled to end on January 19. With the latest three-month extension, Turkey will have completed more than a year and a half under emergency rule, which was imposed on July 20, 2016.

The government says the purges are necessary to confront security challenges facing Turkey and to root out supporters of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who it says was behind the coup attempt. Gulen has denied any involvement.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan

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