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Is Turkey’s state of emergency really over?

A tough security bill drafted up by Turkey’s ruling party looms as a replacement for the two-year state of emergency that ended July 19.
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the government's plan to extend the state of emergency imposed after the 2016 coup attempt for another three months, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RC199D207F30

When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power in 2002, one of its major pledges was to end the state of emergency in the southeast. In place since the late 1980s, it had been implemented as part of the measures adopted to combat Kurdish insurgents. It remained in effect in two provinces at the time. In 2016, when Ankara declared a nationwide state of emergency immediately after the botched July coup attempt, a former AKP member quipped privately that Erdogan’s opposition to emergency rule was misunderstood: “He apparently meant an end to the regional state of emergency in favor of a nationwide version.” In a similar vein, Erdogan’s pledge to end the post-coup state of emergency appears to have been misunderstood as well.

The two-year-long emergency rule did end on July 19, after the last three-month extension expired, but a security bill, submitted to parliament by the AKP, suggests that Erdogan might have in fact promised an end to temporary emergency rule in favor of one of a permanent variety. The measures proposed in the 30-article “anti-terror package” appears to herald undeclared emergency rule.

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