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Turks on both sides split over extending state of emergency

Turkey's state of emergency is set to expire next month, and political voices both in the government and in the opposition are split over its renewal.
Plainclothes police officers detain demonstrators during a protest against the detention of two hunger-striking teachers in Ankara, Turkey, June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTS17CBV

Turkey is debating whether to extend its state of emergency by another three months. The parliament imposed the state of emergency known as “OHAL,” its Turkish acronym, in the aftermath of last year’s coup attempt. OHAL has been extended three times since July 2016 and the current term is supposed to expire by July 19.

As Al-Monitor’s Mahmut Bozarslan pointed out in July 2016, the current state of emergency is not Turkey’s first. From 1987 through 2002, during the fighting between the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and government forces, the primarily Kurdish parts of southeast Turkey came under a state of emergency. During that period, arrests, property seizures and deportations without a court order became commonplace. For Turkish citizens in the southeast, it meant not only years of lost economic and social opportunity but also fleeing one’s home. For Turkey in general, OHAL and the fighting between the government and the PKK have cost tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

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