Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus announced Monday that Turkey’s state of emergency, initially declared after the July 15 defeated coup, will be extended for 3 more months. Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Kurtulmus said that the assembled ministers decided that the state of emergency would be extended as of Oct. 19 for 90 more days, with parliament’s approval.
“Turkey will determinately fight against all terror organizations,” Kurtulmus said.
The National Security Council last week had advised extending the state of emergency. After the deadly July 15 coup attempt – blamed by the government on the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – which martyred more than 240 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 20.
According to the Turkish Constitution, a state of emergency can be declared for a maximum period of six months, but can also be extended if needed.
Parliament must ratify states of emergency, and the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has a comfortable majority for doing so.
To enact the state of emergency, the government must see serious indications of widespread violence which could interfere with Turkey’s democratic environment or its citizens’ basic rights and freedoms as established by the Constitution.
– Gulen extradition
On the extradition of the U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of leading the terrorist FETO organization, Kurtulmus said that negotiations with the U.S. authorities are ongoing.
He added that documents Turkey sent to the U.S. on Sept. 10 concerned arresting Gulen in the U.S., where he has lived in self-exile since 1999.
The network led by Gulen is accused of wiretapping senior Turkish government figures, including the former prime minister and current president, National Intelligence Organization (MIT) chief, and Cabinet ministers, as well as journalists via state officials.
Last October, an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant for Gulen after approving a 1,453-page indictment charging him with “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey or obstructing it from conducting its duties by force”.
– Operation Euphrates Shield
On developments in Iraq and Syria, Kurtulmus said that Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Aug. 24, is aimed at protecting Syria’s territorial integrity as well Turkey’s lands from terror organizations such as Daesh and the PYD/PKK.
“In our view, the operation is ongoing successfully,” he said.
Kurtulmus added that Turkey’s priority aim is ridding the region of Daesh, and ensuring civilians can return to their homes in such cities as Jarabulus.
“Our position is clear and open on possible anti-Daesh operations in Mosul [in Iraq] and Raqqa,” he said.
“Turkey has been stating at every opportunity that Daesh [forming] is a consequence of political instability and fragmentation in Syria and Iraq, not a reason,” he added.
Turkey is always ready to cooperate with the international coalition to rid the region of terrorist groups, he said.