Legal Alerts

State of Emergency Declared in Turkey

Legal Alerts

Recent Development

Turkey experienced an attempted coup by a faction of the militaryon the night of July 15, 2016. The coup was thwarted by civilian resistance and the intervention of the police forces. As a response to the coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a three-month state of emergency on the night of July 20, 2016. The state of emergency came into effect following the Council of Minsters’ approval, published in Turkey’s official gazette on July 21, 2016.

Although the current state of emergency is set for three months, the Parliament can extend the state of emergency for periods of up to four months each, upon the Council of Ministers’ request.

What is a State of Emergency?

A state of emergency is a temporary system of rules granting the Council of Ministers certain extended authorities to restore rights and freedoms when public order is seriously disturbed due to violent events or when there are severe indications of widespread violence against democracy or fundamental human rights and freedoms.

The state of emergency concept is a constitutional concept regulated by the Turkish Constitution. During a state of emergency, the Council of Ministers is entitled to issue executive orders (kanun hükmünde kararname) limiting certain rights and freedoms in order to reestablish public security and order, as well as to take certain extraordinary measures listed under the State Emergency Law No. 2935. Such executive orders have the same legal force as laws, and must be submitted to and approved by the Parliament; the primary aim of the executive orders is to expedite the legislative process.

The declaration of a state of emergency does not revoke, change, or alter the implementation of any current legislation and does not alter the nature of the Turkish Republic as a state of law.


As an extraordinary measure which has not been implemented in Turkey in over a decade, the declaration of a state of emergency following the attempted coup of July 15, 2016 was an expected precaution.

The Council of Ministers, under the constitutionally granted authority, is expected to issue expedient and effective legislation for the elimination of threats to democracy. These legislative measures will also likely diminish present terrorism related security concerns in the country.

Statements by President Erdoğan and governmental officers and ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, reflect the following on the state of emergency:

•     its main purpose is to remove the threats presented by the attempted coup and mitigate its effects;

•     it will not impact the day-to-day lives of individuals, nor the economic and investment climate;

•     the government will not divert from the current financial market regulations, and the Turkish market will continue to operate in a strong and sound manner;

•     the government aims to keep the state of emergency as short as possible, and to terminate it within 30 to 45 days despite the three-month duration.

Based on the above statements, we understand that the governmental officials do not expect the state of emergency to have a negative impact on economic or social life in Turkey.

We aim to provide you with a more detailed analysis in the coming days.

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