Turkish embassy plays down fears on state of emergency

Turkish Embassy in Malta says state of emergency is legal and in respect of human rights as concerns over about restrictions on freedoms and rights in Turkey grow

Erdogan accompanied by his wife Emine, greets supporters during a rally
Erdogan accompanied by his wife Emine, greets supporters during a rally

The Turkish Embassy in Malta has claimed that the three-month state of emergency announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not affect fundamental rights and freedoms of Turkish citizens.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Turkish embassy said the state of emergency was declared “in accordance with the Turkish Constitution in full observance of the European Convention of Human Rights.”

Quoting Erdogan, the embassy said the aim of the state of emergency “is to be able to take fast and effective steps against the terrorist threat to our democracy, the rule of law and rights and freedoms of our citizens.”

Ambassador Reha Keskintepe also assured that Turkey “will remain within a democratic parliamentary system, and never step away from it.”

The statement added that the state of emergency is a measure permissible under international law “taken by many states when there is an imminent threat to its security and order, as is the case with a major European democracy which has recently extended for another six months the country wide state of emergency.”

The statement is the second in as many days, with the embassy saying on Wednesday that reports of the ongoing purge of civil servants and teachers in Turkey are “baseless” and has insisted that a foiled coup that took place last week was a linked to supporters of exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The declaration of the state of emergency raised further concerns about restrictions on freedoms and rights in Turkey, which was stunned by a failed coup attempt on Friday.

It also comes as concerns grow over the scale of the ensuing crackdown that has targeted thousands of judges, civil servants, teachers, police officers and soldiers, and amid widespread fears of growing authoritarianism on the part of Erdogan.

Some 60,000 administrators, soldiers, policemen, prosecutors and academic staff have come under the government’s purge, many of them facing detention or suspension over alleged links to the Gulenist movement and the coup plotters.

Erdogan’s government has also imposed a work travel ban on academics, which, a senior Turkish official said, was a temporary measure as accomplices of the coup plotters in universities were a potential flight risk.

More than 1,500 university deans have also been ordered to resign and the licences of 21,000 teachers working at private institutions revoked.

6,000 soldiers and more than 2,700 judges and prosecutors, and dozens of senior generals accused of involvement in the coup have also been rounded up.