RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
After surviving a brief but bloody coup attempt, Turkey's president has announced a state of emergency. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul, the country's leader is promising to, quote, "cleanse" both the military and the government.
PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Turks have been taken aback by the speed and scope of the arrests, firings and suspensions across the country since the failed coup. State media estimate the total is nearing 60,000. Now, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the state of emergency will speed up that process even further. He says it's necessary to protect democracy. Heard here through an interpreter, Erdogan also says the main target will be what he calls the cancerous opposition of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused of being behind the coup attempt.
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RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: (Through interpreter) The terrorist organization attempted the coup. It should be disposed of rapidly. And the cabinet has decided to declare a state of emergency in our nation for a period of three months.
KENYON: The emergency puts the military firmly under government control and allows for new laws that critics say could suspend civil rights. Turkey's various security forces will be thoroughly investigated. Europe looked on with alarm, led by French and German diplomats. But Erdogan was in no mood for criticism, citing France's ongoing state of emergency. He said European critics could take a lesson in democracy from Turkey. He lashed out at other critics, calling Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a coup plotter who has killed thousands. Erdogan also warned that unnamed other countries may have played a role in the coup. He was more diplomatic on Turkey-U.S. ties, saying cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State should not be mixed up with Ankara's demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan suggested, though, that he does expect Washington to grant Turkey's request. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Istanbul.
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