Erdogan hints at lifting state of emergency after polls

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday the government may discontinue the state of emergency after this month’s elections.

Speaking during a special live broadcast on CNN Turk on the elections, Erdogan said the government will discuss the matter and make necessary assessments to lift the state of emergency imposed following the deadly coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

“The state of emergency could possibly be discussed and lifted after the elections,” he stressed.

Early presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey are scheduled for June 24.

Turkey declared a state of emergency for the first time on July 20, 2016 following a deadly coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

On April 18 this year, the government extended the ongoing state of emergency for three months for the seventh time.

Erdogan said the fight against the FETO terror group continues “with the same tempo as the night of July 15, 2016”.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

While explaining a mega project of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party government, Erdogan described the planned Canal Istanbul as a “strategic project”.

The construction of Canal Istanbul, an artificial sea-level waterway that will connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, is expected to be launched later this year.

The canal will reduce shipping traffic passing through the Bosphorus Strait, removing the risk of ships crashing into historic sea-front mansions, said Erdogan.

“It is a strategic project. It is not done for pleasure. We will also use the two sides of Canal Istanbul as a reserve area in Istanbul’s urban renewal,” he said, adding that new residences would be built near the canal.

On the structure of the new cabinet after the election, Erdogan said ministers could be appointed from outside parliament but noted that he never thought to form a “technocrat cabinet”.

“Because we have suffered so much from the bureaucratic oligarchy.”

More details on the structure of the new government system will be explained in the last week of the election campaign, Erdogan added.

On Turkey’s cross-border fight against PKK terrorism, Erdogan said the Turkish military would hit PKK camps in northern Iraq if Iraq’s central government does not take action against the terrorists.

Turkish forces will attack the Mt. Qandil, Sinjar and Makhmur areas in northern Iraq if the government in Baghdad is unable to “clear” those areas from the PKK terror group, he underscored.

Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the terror group has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region near the Iranian border, have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when the PKK resumed its armed campaign.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as the U.S. and EU. In its terror campaign against Turkey, which has lasted for more than three decades, over 40,000 people have been killed, including women and children.

Source: Anadolu

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