Following a failed coup attempt that occurred last Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a three-month state of emergency.

In a speech given at Ankara on Wednesday, 20 July the Turkish leader stated that a state of emergency would protect the country and its values from attacks. He praised the bravery and sacrifice displayed by those who had lost their lives fighting against the coup and deemed them “martyrs”.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Credits: Umit Bektas / Reuters/RT

50 000 people detained or recently dismissed

Turkish authorities have suspended, arrested or fired thousands upon thousands believed to have links with the coup, among which include: bureaucrats, army, police, schools, universities and Turkey’s religious affairs council. 800 judges and prosecutors, including two members of the Constitutional Court and 262 military prosecutors, have been arrested in at least half of the country’s 81 provinces. According to a report from the Turkish Justice Ministry cited in the Washington Post, these dismissals account for close to a fifth of all judicial officials.

Assistant law professor at Cukurova University, Gunal Kursun, expressed his disdain for the legal system’s recent actions: “It’s total chaos. They are not applying any law at this stage”.

Rights activists believe that laws on criminal investigations and proceedings are being violated because of the rate at which the arrests and dismissals have occurred since the coup. Legal experts believe that government should rely on the legitimacy of the law to detain and prosecute those associated with the incident. They added that bypassing the judiciary system as a response would be “counterintuitive,” Washington Post reported.

Turkey’s NATO membership may be shaky

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, emphasized Turkey’s commitment to upholding democracy as one of the alliance’s requirements. The rapid arrests and suspensions reaching about 50 000 people in a matter of days have allegedly alarmed the US and the European Union. While Kerry did show support for the country in detaining those responsible for the coup, he warned the Turkish government to uphold its democratic institutions and the rule of law to maintain to NATO’s values.

However, the US has denied Kerry’s perceived warnings and State Department spokesperson, John Kirby, had said that it is still too soon to tell whether there is a possibility that Turkey may have its NATO membership revoked.

Pro-government protesters are causing further concern among the European Union member-states by demanding that those who lead the coup should be executed in an attempt to purge the country of  “cancer.” The EU warns that should Turkey reinstate capital punishment; the country will not have its membership granted.

Turkey abolished the capital punishment in 2004 with the hopes of being eligible to join the EU. Although the move had started talks with EU officials over membership, the discussions have dwindled since then. The alliance’s reluctance to calling a mostly Muslim nation one of its own was visible even before the coup.

However, with the recent happenings, the EU, NATO and the US will be keeping a close eye on Turkey, waiting to see what the nation will do next and whether it will be for their claimed values. Whereas the President warned against international intervention, saying that his nation has the right to determine its destiny.

Source: The Washington Post