A Turkish minister chided the country’s Western allies on Saturday for not sending any representatives to demonstrate their solidarity with Turks following last weekend’s failed military coup.
Western leaders have pledged support for Turkish democracy since the July 15 coup attempt but have also expressed concern over the scale of purges against supporters of the coup and of the US-based Muslim cleric Ankara says was behind it.
Turkish authorities’ mass purges of the armed forces, police, judiciary and education system, targeting followers of a US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the failed coup.
However, the reclusive 75-year-old Gulen denies the charge.
“We are very surprised that our allies have not come to Turkey to visit even after one week has passed,” Omur Celik, the minister for European Union affairs, told reporters in Ankara.
Celik added that NATO needed to collaborate with Turkey, a reference in part to the struggle against ISIS militants in Turkey’s southern neighbors Syria and Iraq.
Turkey has the second biggest armed forces in NATO and is also negotiating to join the European Union.
Earlier on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the closure of more than 1,000 private schools and extended the period in which some suspects can be detained without charge, in his first decree since declaring a three-month state of emergency.
Erdogan declared the state of emergency late on Wednesday saying it would enable authorities to swiftly and effectively root out supporters of last weekend’s failed military coup in which at least 246 people were killed.
The state of emergency allows the president and government to pass laws without first having to win parliamentary support and also allows them to curb or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary.
The first decree signed by Erdogan authorizes the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions over suspected links to the Gulen movement, the state news agency Anadolu reported on Saturday.
Erdogan has also approved the extension of the period in which certain suspects can be detained to 30 days from a maximum of four days, Anadolu said.
The period has been extended to facilitate a full investigation into the coup attempt.
Parliament must still approve the decree but requires only a simple majority, which the ruling AK Party founded by Erdogan and in power in Turkey since 2002 commands.
In an address to lawmakers late on Friday Erdogan vowed to bring to justice supporters of the Gulenist “terrorist” movement.
He also inspected damaged parts of the parliament building in Ankara that were strafed by the coup plotters during last weekend’s violence.
(With AFP and Reuters)