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Extension of State of Emergency Sparks Political Division in Turkey | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A detained Turkish soldier who allegedly took part in a military coup arrives with his hands bound at the Istanbul Justice Palace. (AFP)

Ankara – The debate over prolonging the state of emergency in Turkey that was announced in wake of the failed July 2016 coup has revived political divides in the country.

The state of emergency is expected to end on July 19 and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that it may be extended indefinitely.

The divide has pitted the ruling Justice and Development Party and the National Movement Party that favor the extension against the Republican People’s Party and the Peoples’ Democratic Party that oppose the move.

The Justice and Development Party explained that the state of emergency is necessary due to the ongoing crackdown against supporters of exiled US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, said MP Murat Alparslan.

Ankara has accused Gulen of being behind the failed coup.

National Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli stressed that the state of emergency must be extended because there are still major challenges facing the state. Those opposed to the extension have fallen under the spell of the failed coup, he added.

The opposition Republican People’s Party meanwhile said that the state of emergency should end so that normal life and democracy can be restored in Turkey.

Republican People’s Party MP Levent Gok, who visited the Justice and Development Party on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, said that his party had supported the various government measures, including the state of emergency.

He added however that there are still some pending issues that should be resolved through normal legal means.

Since the state of emergency was put into effect on July 20, 2016, Turkish authorities have arrested over 55,000 suspects and sacked over 155,000 employees from various public posts. Hundreds of schools, universities, companies and media outlets have been shut down because they serve Gulen’s movement, which Ankara has deemed a terrorist entity.