September 29, 2016 - 8:38 AM
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's president hinted on Thursday that the three-month state of emergency declared following the failed July 15 coup could be extended to over a year.
Addressing a group of local administrators in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed criticism over plans for Turkey to prolong the state of emergency, saying no one should determine a "calendar or roadmap" for Turkey.
"Wait, be patient. Even 12 months might not be enough," Erdogan said.
His comments came a day after the national security council recommended that the state of emergency — which was instituted on July 20 — should be extended for another three months.
The security council, made up by political and military leaders and chaired by Erdogan, said Wednesday an extension is needed in order "to take measures to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens."
Erdogan supported the move during Thursday's speech.
"This state needs time to be purged of these terrorist organizations' extensions. Right now we're racing against time. The matter is so deep and complicated it looks like three months will not be enough," he said.
The government accuses U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the coup. The state of emergency has allowed the government to pass legislation through decrees, facilitating a massive crackdown on his movement.
Turkey has arrested some 32,000 people in connection to the coup. Tens of thousands of people have been dismissed or suspended from government jobs including the police, military and judiciary.
Erdogan revealed in his Thursday speech that the military council has also recommended July 15 be declared a national holiday in honour of those people killed while resisting the coup attempt.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016