The Turkish government declared a three-month-long state of emergency throughout the country late on July 20, in a bid to tighten its grip on security as it launched extensive operations against suspected members of the outlawed organization allegedly behind the recent failed military coup attempt.
The primary implication of the decision taken by the cabinet, in line with Article 120 of the constitution, is the limitation it will impose on basic rights and freedoms without requiring legal regulations by decree law.
According to the law, a state of emergency can be declared by the cabinet, led by the president, after taking the National Security Council’s (MGK) opinion into consideration. It can be applicable in specific parts of the country or throughout the country for up to six months.
The law enables state of emergency exercises in situations of natural disasters, epidemics or intense economic depression, as well as at times when the country faces threats to its constitutionally-protected free and democratic order and indicators of violent acts targeting basic rights and freedoms. It can also be put into force when public order is seriously disrupted by violent incidents.
According to the law, ministries will be tasked with coordinating the state of emergency, while there will be a coordination commission and there also may be state of emergency councils. Governors will also play a more effective role during this period in terms of both security and local governments.
During a state of emergency, detention periods can be extended beyond 48 hours, which is the maximum amount of detention time before suspects can be tried by a court under normal constitutional procedures.
The state of emergency will also allow authorities to impose limited or full curfews, as well as prevent people from gathering or traveling at certain times or in certain places. Body, vehicle and property searches and the seizure of potential evidence will be authorized as well. People will also be asked to carry their IDs with them everywhere.
The authorities will also be able to ban the pressing, publishing, distributing and replicating of certain newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, books and leaflets, as well as seize such publications that were banned previously. Controlling, recording, and banning certain speeches, scripts, pictures, films, records, theaters and films, as well as audio and image records and all audio-related broadcasts, will also be possible.
The practice will limit certain individuals’ or groups’ entrance to certain places and will permit removing them from certain places. Public gatherings and meetings, marches and parades can be banned or postponed by the authorities. The operations of associations can also be stopped without exceeding three months.
The parliament will be tasked with discussing and finalizing the state of emergency decree laws within 30 days and it has the authority to reject or approve it with or without making amendments. If parliament rejects a state of emergency decree law, it will be dismantled. All approvals, amended approvals and rejections will be made not by parliamentary decisions but through law.
The practice also allows law enforcement officers to shoot individuals who violate surrender orders or attempt to exchange fire, or in self-defense situations. Probes regarding such cases will also be carried out without suspects being arrested.
The last state of emergency was declared in Turkey in July 1987 in a number of the country’s southeastern provinces and lasted until November 2002.