Erdogan said late Wednesday that the first thing he would do after being re-elected in the June 24 elections would be to suspend the emergency law, which has been renewed several times since it was first imposed after the failed coup against him on July 15, 2016.
However, he said that the law would not be abolished altogether and it would be reinstated again if Turkey faces security threats, Presstv Reported.
“Should I continue this task after June 24, the first thing we’ll do is, God willing, lift the state of emergency,” Erdogan said, adding, “Lifting the state of emergency does not mean abolishing it completely not to come back. We’ll take whatever the toughest precaution is again when we see terror.”
The emergency law has helped Erdogan and his security apparatus in cracking down on those deemed to have played a role in the coup attempt.
The United Nations estimates that some 160,000 people have been arrested and a similar number have been suspended from their jobs under the emergency rule.
Erdogan’s opponents have repeatedly criticized him for going beyond the rule of law in the crackdown, alleging that he uses the state of emergency as a pretext to quash dissent. He rejects those allegations and insists that the law, which enables his administration to bypass parliament in passing new laws and allows them to suspend rights and freedoms, is needed to protect Turkey against further security threats.
Erdogan even claimed in April that many in Turkey should thank him for implementing the state of emergency, saying it has protected many businesses against terrorism threats while it prevents walkouts in industries.
The Ankara government has also denied that the state of emergency has interfered with the current election campaign, saying candidates and their supporters have never been targeted under the law.