Image: www.washingtontimes.com

Image: www.washingtontimes.com

Following last Friday’s failed coup attempt, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, declared a three-month national state of emergency on Wednesday.

CNN reports that Erdogan said on national television that ‘the declaration of the state of emergency was meant to protect Turkish democracy and not to disrupt basic freedom in the country.

“The purpose of the declaration of the state of emergency is, in fact, to be able to take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible, which is a threat to democracy, to the rule of law and to the rights and freedoms of the citizens in our country.”

Erdogan had earlier alleged that Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who is on a self-imposed exile in the United States, was the mastermind of last Friday’s failed coup that led to the death of 246 people, most of whom were civilians.

He has since called on U.S. Government to extradite Gulen to Turkey.

Responding to the request, the U.S. stated that mere allegations would not be enough to extradite Gulen and Erdogan must provide hard evidence before the U.S. would carry out an extradition.

Twenty-four radio and television stations suspected to have links with the exiled Gulen have had their licenses revoked, including 34 journalists all suspected to have ties with Gulen.

Most of the top military officers in Turkey have also been sacked as well as many teachers and judges, and over 20,000 schools all with links to Gulen shut in suspicion of their connection with the coup.

Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher,  Andrew Gardner says the massive detention, revoking of licenses and shutdown of educational institutions is “a crackdown of exceptional proportions”.

There had been virulent criticism of President Erdogan over his use of FaceTime, a social media platform, to galvanise Turks against the coup since he is one president known to be against the use of social media platforms in Turkey.

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Author: Aderonke Adeleke

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