Turkish lawmakers set to give Erdogan sweeping new powers

Published 6:59 am Thursday, July 21, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish lawmakers convened Thursday to endorse sweeping new powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that would allow him to expand a crackdown in the wake of last week’s failed coup.

The 550-member parliament is set to approve Erdogan’s request for a three-month state of emergency. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party account for 317 members in the chamber.

In an address to the nation late Wednesday, Erdogan announced a Cabinet decision to seek the additional powers, saying the state of emergency would give the government the tools to rid the military of the “virus” of subversion. He didn’t specify exactly what the state of emergency would entail.

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Under the Turkish Constitution, the emergency measures allow the government to “partially or entirely” suspend “the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms,” so long as it doesn’t violate international law obligations. Lawmakers can sanction, under the terms of the constitution, a state of emergency for a period of up to six months.

Before the vote, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that once emergency measures are invoked, the country would suspend its participation in the European Convention of Human Rights, an international treaty meant to protect human rights and freedoms.