Almost two years after an failed coup that left 249 people dead in its wake, Turkey is set on Monday to lift the state of emergency that has been in place ever since.
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that, “the new cabinet will be announced on Monday, and the state of emergency will conclude.”
Monday is also the day that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be inaugurated as president under the country's new constitution that was approved by Turkey's electorate in a referendum held on April 2017.
Erdogan, in campaigning ahead of the recent election, had spoken about lifting the state of emergency.
Yildirim said that a decree will be issued on Friday, saying it “will include necessary measures to avoid vulnerability in the area of counterterrorism once the state of emergency is over.”
Turkey declared a state of emergency for the first time on July 20, 2016, five days after the deadly coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen, which left 249 people dead and more than 2,000 injured.
The government renewed the ongoing state of emergency for the seventh time this past April.
Since the coup attempt, Turkey has sought Gulen's extradition from the US, and complained that the US was not moving fast enough.
Yildirim told Anadolu Agency that most of the world accepted that the defeated coup was carried out by FETO, but the US was rather “reluctant” [to acknowledge it].
“This must be questioned. The Turkish people find it unacceptable that the activities of this terrorist organisation continue here [in the US] without any difficulty or restrictions after all that happened,” he said.
“Our view is that relations with US will normalise and continue to be worthy of two NATO allies,” he explained.
Yildirim said all issues would be discussed at the NATO summit that Erdogan would attend in Brussels next week, including FETO, and the US' expectations of Turkey.
Referring to the new constitution, Yildirm said that the parliament would wield more influence.
He said: “The importance of parliament has grown under the new system.”
“Apart from the budget law, the government does not have the authority to propose legislation.”
He said that this was indicative of parliament's power and its role.
Economy in the new system
Yildirim said, “The elections are over, now is the time for moving on. Investors will plan their investment, vacationers will plan their vacations, and life will go on in all respects.”
“From 1924 to 2002, Turkey has grown 4.7 percent on average. Between 2003 and 2017, there’s been average of 5.7 percent growth,” he said.
Yildirim said if Turkey had grown 5.7 percent since 1925, by now it would have been the world’s seventh-largest economy with a GDP of $2.3 trillion, right after France, but actually it was now the 17th-largest economy.
He went on to say that Turkey must continue its growth around strong production, employment, and exports.
“We will use the build-operate-transfer model and external sources more often. We will spend the rest on social projects,” Yildirim said.
He said that the government would make it a top priority to bring down interest rates and inflation, and continue with structural reforms.
Balancing resources with Turkey’s commitment to monetary policy would be a main focus in the days to come, he added.
Counterterrorism and the US
On Turkey’s counterterrorism efforts, Yildirim said terror needed to be eliminated where it was.
"Turkey is telling the US clearly that we are working together in Manbij, Syria – an area recently cleared of the YPG/PKK forces allied with the US – but we don't want any threats from east of the Euphrates," he added.
Turkish operations have cleared a 400-kilometre area stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to west of the Euphrates River, he said, adding that Turkish forces were now in a 350-kilometre area in Iraq, stretching from Turkey’s Habur border to Iran, including Mount Qandil, where the terrorist PKK’s headquarters was located.
He noted in the past two years Turkey changed its counterterror policy from defence to offence, especially after the July 15 coup attempt.
Turkey on Janunary 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh militants from Afrin. On March 18, Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army members liberated the town of Afrin.
Yildirim, Turkey’s last prime minister, is serving his last days in the post, as the country officially shifted to a presidential system of government last month, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s election victory.
Yildirim's term is due to conclude when the new government is formed next week.