The ruling party, having vowed to extend the state of emergency in its election manifesto and then saying immediately before the elections that it would lift the state of emergency, will use statutory means to keep the spirit of the state of emergency alive and well. The state of emergency, which was introduced as part of counterterrorism measures following the 15 July coup attempt, ends on 18 July. President Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP General Chair Devlet Bahçeli reached agreement on lifting the state of emergency at the meeting they held immediately after the elections. As such, a new motion will not come before parliament for the extension of the state of emergency. However, it is planned to give statutory force to the state of emergency powers under a “final” decree with the force of law to be issued today.
Cloaked in the French example
From information that Cumhuriyet has obtained, it is stated that the provisions to be contained in the decree have been drafted on the basis of the “French model” and there is talk of the provisions in question “covering a specific period” again as in the French example. As such, it is pointed out that in France the state of emergency was lifted and the necessary measures from the state of emergency were incorporated into the “Act to Reinforce Internal Security and the Fight Against Terrorism” that will remain in force until 31 December 2020. It is said that the practice in Turkey will resemble this law.
Threat of citizens coming under surveillance
The act that has been drafted is said to have taken account of the provision contained in Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, “In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.” The act being drafted will be framed within the scope of the Counterterrorism Law and Turkish Penal Law. Accordingly, as in the French example, it is noted that in combatting terrorism the security forces “may be vested with powers of administrative control, monitoring, surveillance and seizure targeting individuals with a view to ensuring public security.”
Yıldırım spoke of it as if it were good news
The final Prime Minister of the parliamentary system, Binali Yıldırım, conveyed his final messages to the Anadolu Agency Editor’s Desk. The key points in the Yıldırım’s messages were as follow:
-Debate about an early election: There is nothing doing with this March’s elections. These elections will be held and then agreement will be attained in parliament and the following elections can be brought forward to November.
-Will he be parliamentary speaker?: I cannot decide on this. Whatever decision my leader, our party’s General Chair, takes, that’s what I’ll do.
-Drop in the AKP’s vote: There is a drop in the AKP’s vote and there is a drop in the number of seats. And this is correct. This is a message to us. Our lost votes are with our partner and our partner’s lost votes are with another party. But, no legislative activity of which the AK Party is not part can produce a result. As the AK Party and MHP, we constitute the strongest group in parliament.
-Mr İnce is right: Mr İnce got a higher vote than his party and he rightly wants to turn this into a result.
-French cloak for the state of emergency: The state of emergency will end in terms of period on 18 July. The government needs to submit a motion for its renewal to parliament. If it does not do so, the state of emergency will expire. The state of emergency will thus come to an end. France was governed under a state of emergency for 719 days. Following a terrorist attack; it was not a putsch or a coup. They then lifted it, but they transported the powers they exercised under the state of emergency into normal laws. We will do this. We will most probably promulgate our final state of emergency decree with the force of law tomorrow (today). The provisions needed for the fight against terrorism not to be compromised will be included in this.
-New period economic policies: We will make greater use of build, operate and transfer projects and we will make greater use of foreign funds.
What will the state of emergency given statutory form bring?
Other features expected to be included in the act are as follow:
-If approved, the security forces can be vested with powers of monitoring and surveillance of sporting activities and cultural events held in public spaces.
-The religious meeting places of members of organisations, chiefly FETO, will be closed. The security forces and civil service administrators will be vested with the power to monitor and close religious venues and places in areas in which terrorism is being combatted actively.
-Secure zones can be created to counter the possibility that severe attacks may be staged against the public order and public resources in areas in which terrorism is being combatted actively.
-In view of the heavy migration from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan in recent years, following the French example, provincial governors can be vested with the power to apply the necessary regulations and measures to create secure zones and protected areas in terms of where people are to live. There is also talk of judges and prosecutors being empowered by the act to extend arrest periods if there is strong suspicion and evidence regarding terrorist organisation members.