Turkish president Erdogan declares state of emergency

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency after the country’s failed military coup.

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Erdogan told the nation on Thursday the state of emergency would last three months and that “all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed.”
So far, Erdogan’s government has rounded up nearly 10,000 people in the days since Friday’s coup attempt. It has also closed more than 600 schools and fired thousands of government employees. Tens of thousands more have fallen under heavy government scrutiny and Erdogan said he will bring back the death penalty if the public wants it.

The declaration, legal under the Turkish constitution and approved by parliament, still raises concerns about human rights in the country.

Erdogan defended the declaration after a meeting with his cabinet and national security council.

“State of emergency is not against democracy, the rule of law and freedom,” Erdoğan said.

The degree with which Erdogan’s government is cracking down on opposition has raised “serious alarm” for UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein.

“In the aftermath of such a traumatic experience, it is particularly crucial to ensure that human rights are not squandered in the name of security and in the rush to punish those perceived to be responsible,” he said.

“The mass suspension or removal of judges is cause for serious alarm,” Hussein said. “Reports that many have been subject to detention orders also raises concerns of arbitrary detention.”

By Shawn Price