A state of emergency lasting three months has been declared by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It comes five days after a failed coup attempt and amid a major crackdown against thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service and academia.
The announcement was made during a televised address and after a nearly five hour meeting of the National Security Council.
“The purpose of declaring the state of emergency is in fact to be able to take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible, which is a threat to democracy, to the rule of law, and to the rights and freedom of our citizens.”
The state of emergency will go into force after it is published in Turkey’s official gazette and will allow the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary.
Erdogan blames a network of followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for Friday night’s coup in which more than 200 people were killed.
“Those individuals in this group, understood to be members of the Gulenist terrorist organisation, attacked its state and its nation using planes, helicopters, tanks and all kinds of weaponry.”
Erdogan’s spokesman said on Tuesday that the government was preparing a formal request to the United States for the extradition of Gulen.
The cleric earlier in the week condemned the coup and denied having any involvement in the attempt to topple the government.
In an earlier interview Erdogan dismissed suggestions that he was becoming authoritarian and that Turkish democracy was under threat.
Turkey’s allies have expressed their solidarity with the government against the coup, they are also voicing concerns at the scale and speed of the crackdown and called on Ankara to abide by democratic values.
Turkey says criticising government is like criticising US after 9/11 https://t.co/ks5ioY9E0Q— The Independent (@Independent) July 20, 2016