Emergency rule debate

Emergency rule is due to expire on April 19. Many believe it will be extended for 3 months.

Dunya Executive - - FRONT PAGE - CANAN SAKARYA / DUNYA

The latest extension of the state of emergency, imposed after the military coup attempt in July 2016, is due to expire on April 19. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said that the government will decide whether to prolong emergency rule following an assessment by the National Security Council. However, many in Ankara believe that it will almost certainly be extended another three months.

Already, the AK Party leadership has planned for parliament to debate a proposal on the extension from the prime minister’s office when it reconvenes after the April 16 constitutional referendum. The state of emergency was first introduced on July 21, 2016, and extended for three months on Oct. 19 and again on Jan. 3, even amid a debate about whether the referendum could be held during emergency rule.

Now, a third extension in April would mean that Turkey will have spent half of 2017 under emergency rule. Should it be extended a fourth time, the state of emergency will have been in effect a full year. In fact, the speculation among politicians is that it will persist through the rest of 2017.

Will the row with the Netherlands affect referendum voting?

The diplomatic crisis that began with Germany and peaked with the Netherlands over those countries’ refusal to allow Turkish ministers to campaign there for the referendum may have boosted support for the “yes” vote. During a live broadcast earlier this month, Huseyin Kocabiyik, an AK Party lawmaker from Izmir, thanked the Netherlands, saying the row had helped increase “yes” votes by 2 percentage points.

While the general thinking is that the row helped the “yes” camp, some within the AK Party see it differently. The crisis touched a nationalist nerve among almost circle in Turkey, sparking outrage, yet this does not necessarily translate into more support for the referendum. Instead, these AK Party members say, the row benefited Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party, which won the most seats in a March 15 election - far more than it will the campaign in Turkey.

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