Demirtaş cautions against new state of emergency, says it can be used to ‘silence opposition’

Renowned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş has urged caution against the government’s potential abuse of the new state of emergency rule in the 10 earthquake-stricken provinces and said that the measure can be used to “silence whole opposition.”

Duvar English

Jailed former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has commented on the newly declared state of emergency (OHAL) in the 10 earthquake-stricken provinces, by saying that it might be again used to “silence whole opposition” as was the case in the 2016 state of emergency rule.

In a series of tweets on Feb. 9, Demirtaş said the government has already widespread authority and questioned why it needed additional authority coming from the state of emergency.

“For what does it have not the authority to do so that it needs a state of emergency? If there is no state of emergency, can’t plunders be intervened against, can’t donations be collected, can’t the wreckage be cleared?” Demirtaş asked.

“The opposition should follow the process with caution. It must be the case that there is another plan. The state of emergency that was declared in 2016 went beyond its cause and aim and was used to silence the whole opposition. And now again, if any authority is used other than its purpose, all hell should break loose,” Demirtaş tweeted.

On Feb. 9, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the new state of emergency for the 10 quake-stricken provinces will help the state to intervene against the reported plunders in the region. Erdoğan also referred to the criticism of the government over its response to the deadly quakes as “political abuse,” signaling that the new state of emergency would help the authorities to take an action against critics.

“There are those who want to turn the process into a political abuse. My citizen will never credit to this…That (state of emergency) will give the state the opportunity to intervene against those abusing the process,” Erdoğan said.

Earlier this week, Erdoğan issued the state of emergency rule with a presidential decree. The regulation was brought to the parliament’s agenda on Feb. 9. Despite the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and İYİ (Good) Party rejecting the regulation, it passed the parliament with the votes of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmakers.