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Erdogan suggests emergency could extend to a year

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during 27th Mukhtars (local administrators) meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on September 29, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during 27th Mukhtars (local administrators) meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on September 29, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Thursday it may be necessary to keep the state of emergency imposed after the July coup bid in place for at least a year.

His comments came a day after he chaired Turkey’s top national security body which called for the current state of emergency to be extended when it expires in October.

“It was seen that a three-month period was not enough… It’s in Turkey’s favour to extend state of emergency three months more,” Erdogan said in televised comments.

“Maybe a 12-month (emergency) will not be enough,” he added.

The state of emergency has laid the legal basis for the government to launch a vast crackdown on suspected plotters of the July 15 coup attempt blamed on a group led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen — charges he denies.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday that so far 32,000 suspects had been remanded in custody for alleged links to Gulen.

Erdogan said the emergency was needed to fight the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is continuing to wage its insurgency in the southeast as well as FETO — a name Ankara gives to the Gulen-led group.

He defended Turkey’s actions by pointing to how France declared and extended emergency measures after Islamic State jihadists struck Paris in November, killing 130 people at restaurants and a concert hall.

“Does anyone from the world ask France why it declared a one-year state of emergency?” Erdogan said.

“Turkey has experienced a coup attempt that cannot be compared to terror attacks in France. Therefore, I believe my people will understand and support the decision to extend (the state of) emergency.”

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