News from The Associated Press

TURKISH LAWMAKERS GIVE LEADER ERDOGAN SWEEPING NEW POWERS

BY SUZAN FRASER AND SARAH EL DEEB

ASSOCIATED

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish lawmakers declared a three-month state of emergency Thursday, overwhelmingly approving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request for sweeping new powers to expand a government crackdown after last week’s attempt military coup.

Parliament voted 346-115 to approve the national state of emergency, which will give Erdogan the authority to extend detention times for suspects and issue decrees that have the force of law without parliamentary approval, among other powers.

Erdogan, who had been accused of autocratic conduct even before this week’s crackdown on alleged opponents, says the state of emergency will counter threats to Turkish democracy.

Even without the emergency measures, his government has already imposed a crackdown that has included mass arrests, mass firings and the closure of hundreds of schools. Erdogan said the new powers would allow the government to rid the military of the “virus” of subversion, blaming the coup attempt on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric has strong denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.

“This is a state of emergency imposed not on the people, but on (the state) itself,” declared Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. “We will, one by one, cleanse the state of (Gulen’s followers) and eliminate those who are trying to harm the country.”

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