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Turkey ends state of emergency

Under the state of emergency, tens of thousands of people were arrested or dismissed from their jobs. Opposition parties believe Erdogan wants to prolong its effects with an “anti-terrorism” bill. Court rejects the request of release submitted for HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş.

 The Turkish government has ended the nationwide state of emergency that was imposed two years ago after a failed coup attempt, state media say.

Under the state of emergency, tens of thousands of people were arrested or dismissed from their jobs.

The government has decided against extending it again after seven three-month renewals.

The decision comes weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election, following constitutional changes approved last year in a contested referendum.

During the campaign, opposition candidates said that the first thing they would do if they won would be to end the state of emergency.

More than 107,000 people have been removed from public sector jobs by emergency decree since the state of emergency began and more than 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial, according to official statistics and NGOs.

Many of those dismissed are alleged to be supporters of the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States and is a former ally of Mr Erdogan.

Turkey accuses Mr Gulen and his followers of organising the coup, but he denies it.

The end of the state of emergency does not seem to reassure the opposition. On the contrary, most of the anti-Erdogan movements believe that the government wants to prolong its effects through an “anti-terrorism” bill presented this week in Parliament.

Meanwhile, a court has rejected a request for release by former HDP Co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş.

The Ankara 19th Heavy Penal Court on Wednesday held a third hearing for Demirtaş since his arrest on 4 November 2016.

Demirtaş did not attend the hearing on the ground that he was the HDP’s presidential candidate at the 24 June elections and could not prepare his statement of defence.

The court ruled to keep Demirtaş in prison, who has been behind bars since November 4, 2016. The next hearing will be held on 28-29 August.

Demirtaş is on trial for “establishing a terrorist organization”, “spreading terror group propaganda” and “praising crimes and criminals”.

[Source: Asian News, Istanbul, 19Jul18]

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