On the evening of 15 July 2016, elements within Turkey’s armed forces attempted a violent coup. The coup attempt was quickly thwarted as thousands of people took to the streets and state forces overpowered the coup plotters.
Hundreds died, and thousands were injured in a night of terrible violence. The government declared a state of emergency soon afterwards on 20 July 2016 with the stated aim of countering threats to national security arising from the coup attempt. While the state of emergency was initially declared for three months, it would be renewed seven times, and its remit broadened to include combatting ‘terrorist’ organizations.
The state of emergency finally ended on 18 July 2018, two years after it was first announced, having ushered in a period of tremendous upheaval in Turkish public life.
During the state of emergency, the government had the extraordinary power to issue emergency decrees with the force of law. These decrees were used to enact a wide variety of measures, affecting diverse issues from detention periods and NGO closures to snow tyre requirements.
Around 130,000 public sector workers were dismissed by emergency decrees. Those dismissed include teachers, academics, doctors, police officers, media workers employed by the state broadcaster, members of the armed forces, as well as people working at all levels of local and central government.