Turkish Lawmakers Give Leader Erdogan Sweeping New Powers

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -

Turkey will be able to extend detention times for suspects and issue decrees without parliamentary approval under a three-month state of emergency approved Thursday by lawmakers, following last week’s attempted military coup.

Parliament voted 346-115 to approve the national state of emergency, which gives sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had been accused of autocratic conduct even before this week’s crackdown on alleged opponents. Erdogan has said 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 denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.

The government hopes the state of emergency will be lifted within 40 to 45 days, said Yildirim’s deputy, Numan Kurtulmus.

Since the July 15 coup attempt, the government has arrested nearly 10,000 people. More than 58,880 civil service employees – including teachers, university deans and police – have been dismissed, suspended, forced to resign or had their licenses revoked for allegedly being Gulen followers. Turkish state media said Thursday that another 32 judges and two military officers had been detained by authorities.

In other developments, a soldier allegedly linked to the attack on a hotel where Erdogan had been vacationing during the foiled coup was arrested in southwestern Turkey, the state agency Anadolu reported Thursday. The lieutenant was one of about 30 soldiers said to be involved in the hotel attack in the resort of Marmais.

The attackers arrived minutes after Erdogan had left the hotel, according to official reports.