Turkish parliament to vote to extend state of emergency for three more months

Ankara, Jan 4 (IANS) The Turkish parliament will vote this week to extend the state of emergency for another three months starting from January 19, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday.

The announcement came during a parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Xinhua news agency cited private broadcaster NTV.

The upcoming parliamentary vote will be for the third term of the state of emergency.

Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 20, 2016, days after a failed military coup, which Ankara blames on the US-based exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Under emergency rule, the government can bypass the parliament to enact new laws and limit or suspend rights and freedoms.

Yildirim also confirmed that debates on a bill to change the Turkey’s constitution will start in parliament next week.

According to the report, the draft will be submitted to the General Assembly on January 9 and is expected to be approved by the end of the month.

The bill grants extended power to the President and allows the President to remain the head of his or her political party.

The Turkish government has said it would put the constitutional changes to a referendum, even if the proposals had gained enough support from lawmakers to pass through the parliament.