Ankara: Turkey’s president has declared a three-month state of emergency following last week’s failed coup. In a televised speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned there “may be more plans” from dissidents to try and overthrow the government.
The president said the state of emergency was in order 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 citizens in our country”.
Mr Erdogan also expressed his “deepest gratitude” to citizens who took to the streets during the unrest and stayed there to show their support for his administration.
Earlier, he had suggested in an interview that foreign countries may have been involved in last week’s attempted putsch.
The Turkish president said his efforts to detain those involved, or suspend them from their positions, is far from over.
He also told Al Jazeera it would be a “big mistake” if the US failed to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and is accused of masterminding the plot.
Mr Erdogan said his administration was complying with Washington’s request to provide evidence of the cleric’s involvement in the coup, which US officials have demanded before his deportation.
But despite the rising tensions in recent days, the Turkish president said Ankara must continue its solidarity with America – and insisted the issue of Mr Gulen’s extradition needs to be separated from the Pentagon’s use of Incirlik airbase in the fight against Islamic State.
In response to claims that he is using the unrest to seize further power, Mr Erdogan said: “We will remain within a democratic parliamentary system, we will never step away from it.”
On Wednesday, officials announced that 99 of Turkey’s 360 military generals have been charged over their alleged roles in last Friday’s attempt to overthrow the government.
Turkey has also cut access to WikiLeaks, banned academics from travelling abroad and suspended 900 officers from the Ankara police force.
There are also fears that key institutions within Turkey are in crisis.
It has been announced that more than 600 private schools and dormitories are to be closed in an attempt to root out those who support Mr Gulen.
Nearly 22,000 education ministry workers, who are mostly teachers, have been fired – and steps are also being taken to revoke the licences of a further 21,000 teaching professionals.