Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Sunday that the state of emergency temporarily placed on the country after last year’s failed coup would continue until the country reached “welfare and peace.” The state of emergency gives [NYT report] Erdoğan and his cabinet nearly unlimited power as it allows them to make policy decisions without parliamentary oversight or review by the constitutional court. International rights groups, such as Amnesty International [advocacy website], have contested the initially justified decree that they now feel is overstepping human rights. Thus far the decrees have permitted the government to jail at least 120 journalist and more than 40,000 people accused of plotting a failed attempt at a second coup. Additionally, more than 140,000 people have been fired or suspended and over 150 news sources have been shut down. In April a law passed [JURIST report] under the state of emergency blocked access to Wikipedia [official website].
Since the failed coup in Turkey in July, where Turkish military forces tried to overthrow the government, the Turkish government has taken several controversial steps to strengthen its power. Earlier this month the Turkish Parliament [official website] elected seven new members [JURIST report] to the country’s 13-member Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) in an overnight vote. Last month, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said [JURIST report] the Turkish Constitutional Court [official website] would reject any opposition challenge to the referendum that expanded Erdoğan’s powers, and the European Court of Human Rights had no jurisdiction on the matter. In March, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report [JURIST report] describing a plethora of human rights violations committed by the Turkish government between July 2015 and December 2016. Also in March around 330 individuals were put on trial [JURIST report] for alleged involvement in an attempted coup. In November Turkey significantly restricted the activities of NGOs like human rights organizations and children’s groups and arrested opposition party leaders [JURIST report] alleging they were connected to terror organizations. In October Human Rights Watch warned [JURIST report] that the emergency decrees put in place after the failed coup, had resulted in serious human rights violations.