Turkey Sets Up Inner Cabinet to Oversee Emergency Rule

  • Opposition CHP Party holds rally to protest coup attempt
  • Inner cabinet set up as post-coup arrests reach 13,165

Fear Grows as Turkey Crackdown Widens

Turkey’s government is setting up an inner cabinet to oversee the implementation of the state of emergency it declared after the botched coup, ramping up the effort to purge the influence of its accused mastermind.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will chair the council composed of ministers including justice, interior, finance, foreign, education, defense and labor, according to the decision published in Turkey’s official gazette. A rally celebrating the putdown of the July 15 coup attempt, organized by the leading opposition party, drew tens of thousands of people, in one of the strongest demonstrations of national unity after the takeover effort.

The state of emergency, and the mechanisms being set up to enforce it, are aimed against the government’s bitterest enemy, a U.S.-based cleric named Fethullah Gulen it accuses of engineering the failed coup. On Saturday, a government decree opened the way for the government to seize assets and close institutions linked to Gulen, who denies involvement in the takeover attempt that left more than 300 dead.

What began as an effort to root out members of the military and security forces directly involved in the coup attempt has been extended to eliminate the Gulen movement’s influence from education, academia and the civil service by firing, detaining or suspending tens of thousands of people. Turkey’s allies have called for restraint and financial markets have been rattled by concern that the economy will be hurt by deepened political instability.

At the G-20 finance ministers’ meeting in Chengdu, China, the final communique on Sunday made no reference to Turkey, resisting the Turkish government’s push for a statement of support and requests by some other countries for language warning of the economic risks of the purge. European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told reporters it was “wiser” not to raise this issue in the G-20 session.

Reversal Promised

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he met with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek at that meeting and was assured the emergency measures will be reversed as soon as the situation allows.

In an interview on France24 on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Gulen’s influence to a cancer that must be rooted out. Speaking Saturday night by live video transmission to rallies across the country, he said 13,165 people have been detained, including 8,838 soldiers, 2,101 judges and prosecutors, 1,485 police, and 123 generals. In addition, about 50,000 teachers and civil servants have lost their jobs over suspected Gulen links.

Turk Telekomunikasyon AS, the country’s largest telephone operator, said in a statement Sunday that some of its executives were detained and that the company is cooperating with investigators. State-run Anadolu news agency identified the executives as the operator’s chief technology officer and head of internet consumer business.

The political instability has deepened at a time when the government is fighting a renewed war with Kurdish separatists and is grappling with spillover from the conflict in neighboring Syria, including attacks by Islamic State militants.

CHP Rally

Supporters of Erdogan and the ruling AK Party he co-founded have called on people to gather nightly to protest the coup attempt. On Sunday, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, organized its own anti-coup demonstration at Istanbul’s Taksim Square. AK Party lawmakers joined the rally.

Simsek said in comments on Twitter that the joint demonstration was evidence “that domestic political tension has eased.” Erdogan invited the leaders of the AK Party and opposition CHP and MHP parties to a meeting Monday in Ankara, Anadolu reported.

Markets stabilized Friday after price declines throughout the week. The lira, which fell to a record low 3.0973 against the dollar on Wednesday, ended the week at 3.066, down 5.5 percent from before the coup. The yield on Turkey’s 10-year bond fell for the first time Friday since before the attempted coup and closed at 10.04 percent, about 100 basis points higher for the week. The benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index was little changed Friday, closing down 13.4 percent on the week.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.