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Turkey's state of emergency becomes permanent, the HDP warns

TURKEY’s state of emergency has been “made permanent,” the country’s opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) warned tpday.

The emergency powers introduced after a failed coup attempt in July 2016 were not extended when they expired at 1am this morning.

But opposition groups warn that new legislation from the ruling AKP is an attempt to enshrine many of the more authoritarian elements of the state of emergency into law.

Anti-terror laws allow police to hold suspects for 12 days without charge, up from the current five, while centrally appointed local government officials are to be given more powers, including to ban demonstrations and gatherings, and civil servants judged to have links with “terrorist groups” face the sack.

HDP spokesman Ayhan Bilgen warned: “Although the government is trying to disguise the new laws as an end to the state of emergency, what’s really going on is that the state of emergency is being made permanent.

“The package does not relieve the economy and also does not diminish the risk which Turkey faced through the state of emergency,” he said.

Mr Bilgen warned that “a three-year extension is coming” with the new proposals voted through in Turkey’s parliament with the support of the nationalist MHP.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the prosecution of 72 Republican People’s Party (CHP) MPs today, including party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on charges of insulting the president after they were accused of sharing the satirical cartoon “Kingdom of Tayyips” on social media.

Under the state of emergency Mr Erdogan was accused of shutting down democracy in Turkey. Thousands of academics have been sacked for signing a peace petition while more than 150,000 public-sector workers have been dismissed.

Turkey has jailed more journalists than any other country with Reporters Without Borders suggesting 131 remain behind bars.

The opposition HDP have warned of a “political genocide” against the party as many of its MPs have been arrested and thousands of activists jailed. 

Former co-leader Figen Yuksekdag faces life in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges while her fellow co-leader and presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas had his latest appeal to be released from jail rejected on Wednesday.

Mr Erdogan became the first president to take on new powers granted in a controversial referendum last year marred by allegations of electoral fraud.

He and the AKP lost 2 million votes in the recent snap parliamentary and presidential elections.

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