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Turkey seeks to extend state of emergency

dpa logodpa 3/01/2017

The Turkish prime minister is seeking to extend the current state of emergency in the country.

The Turkish parliament is set to vote on Tuesday to extend a state of emergency put in place following an attempted coup in mid-July.

A motion to extend the state of emergency by 90 days from January 19 would be brought before parliament, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party earlier in the day.

President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency after the attempted coup on July 15, which was blamed on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The failed coup was followed by a widespread crackdown on suspected government opponents in many sectors, including the police and the army.

Erdogan said that the state of emergency has allowed a more effective fight against terrorism.

At the weekend, Turkey suffered another major terrorist attack, which killed 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub and Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus had said: "The state of emergency will last as long as necessary."

The state of emergency, which allows Erdogan to enact laws before gaining parliamentary approval, needs parliament's assent. However, with the AKP holding the majority in the legislature, this is seen as a formality.

Yildirim said that parliament would begin to work from Monday on the introduction of a more presidential system of government.

If at least 330 members of the 550-seat parliament vote for the reforms, there is likely to be a referendum in the spring to approve the changes.

If approved, the reforms will give significantly more power to Erdogan and weaken parliament.

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