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Erdogan Signals Preference for Longer Turkey Emergency Rule

  • Government needs longer to purge followers of cleric Gulen
  • President draws parallels with France after terrorist attacks

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the government to extend the state of emergency, saying that “even 12 months” won’t be long enough to finish a crackdown following July’s coup attempt. The lira weakened.

Turkey has fired about 100,000 people from public and military positions since the failed putsch in July, accusing them of supporting its alleged mastermind, U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Emergency rule allows the government to issue decrees with the force of law, and the government has used it to seize hundreds of schools and companies it says have links to Gulen’s followers. Gulen has denied any involvement in the coup.

“Extending the emergency rule for three months will benefit Turkey,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara on Wednesday. “Be patient, maybe even 12 months will not be enough,” he said, referring to the extension of emergency rule in France following terrorist attacks.

Erdogan has largely dismissed warnings from foreign leaders about the scale of the crackdown. His government has been more accommodating toward investors, assuring them that pro-business policies will continue. When Moody’s Investors Service cut Turkey’s rating to junk last week, it cited “high political risks and volatile investor sentiment” among other reasons.

Erdogan’s comments are “a negative sign for any market participants that are still following and fear the broadening scope of the ongoing Gulenist purge,” said Roxana Hulea, a strategist at Societe Generale SA in London.

The lira weakened as much as 0.8 percent, before trading 0.5 percent lower at 2.9959 at 2:51 p.m. in Istanbul.

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