Istanbul calm as first day of state of emergency in Turkey begins

Turkey woke up to its first full day under a state of emergency Thursday, imposed by the government the previous night.

"Everything is looking normal" in the streets of Istanbul, a resident told dpa at 8 am (0500 GMT), with people commuting to work or taking coffees in the city's cafes.

The three-month nationwide state of emergency was aimed at pursuing a "parallel structure" of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for the coup, government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said Wednesday.

Gulen has denied any involvement in Friday's attempted coup, which left more than 260 people dead and 1,500 injured.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek insisted the state of emergency would not curtail basic freedoms, including restrictions on movement, gatherings and free press.

Parliament, dominated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, was to meet Thursday to review the state of emergency.

The government has rounded up or dismissed tens of thousands of civil servants, teachers, lawyers and soldiers. Government supporters have called for the death penalty for coup plotters.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas told a crowd in the city's Taksim Square this week the he had ordered a burial plot to be set aside for any dead coup plotters, to be called "the graveyard for traitors."

"Everyone visiting the place will curse them and they won’t be able to rest in their graves," he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet Daily news late Wednesday.

Some locals were celebrating the coup's failure in the streets Wednesday night, the resident said. But many people were also deactivating their social media accounts, she added, saying she thought they were afraid of a clampdown.

"Three people were dismissed in my company yesterday, and there are rumours of 15 more on the list," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Opposition politicians also expressed fear of reprisals. "Unfortunately, we are seeing a civilian counter-coup," Lawmaker Ziya Pir of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party told dpa Wednesday.

Many opposition factions "are afraid of being lynched," he said.

Last update: Thu, 21/07/2016 - 11:33
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