Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the state of emergency in the country will continue until “everything settles down”, NTV and other news channels reported on Thursday.
The government decrees and dismissals of staff suspected of links to last July’s attempted coup will also remain, he added to reporters on a return flight to Turkey from a visit he made to Pakistan.
Emergency rule was imposed in Turkey after the failed putsch on July 15, enabling the government to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms when deemed necessary.
Turks will vote on April 16 on a constitutional reform sharply boosting the president’s powers.
Turkey had imposed a three-month state of emergency on July 21 in light of a failed coup attempt on July 15. Turkish parliament had extended emergency rule for another three months starting January 19.
Erdogan had repeatedly criticized western countries over their stances on the failed coup. He said that had any European country witnessed the “terrorist operations” of the Kurdistan Workers Party, ISIS, and the so-called “parallel entity” in Turkey that is led by cleric Fetullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of being behind the coup, they would have immediately imposed the death penalty and announced a state of emergency without delay.
The Turkish president had repeatedly warned that he could reinstate the death penalty to eliminate those who waged the coup, many of whom are populating Turkey’s jails. Erdogan recently said that he may resort to a popular referendum if parliament did not reinstate it.
The wave of arrests linked to the coup continued on Thursday as 77 people were arrested on suspicion of using the “Baylock” app, which authorities say was used by the coup plotters in July.
Turkish intelligence had on Wednesday compiled a list of 122,000 people who allegedly used the app and later relayed it to security directorates throughout the country. It has also obtained over 180 million messages that were sent via the app.
A Turkish court ordered on Thursday the detention of 15 people on charges of owning accounts in Bank Asya that is affiliated with Gulen.
Meanwhile, the trials of those charged in the coup continued as Tuesday saw the opening of the trial of 330 suspects, 240 of whom are in detention. If found guilty, the suspects may face sentences that include life in prison. Charges against the suspects include murder and attempted murder.