Turkey is preparing to lift the state of emergency imposed after the deadly coup attempt two years ago, which left 250 citizens dead and 2,163 others wounded. However, it is very clear that the threat posed to Turkey by Fetullah Gülen and his Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), who staged the coup, is still as valid as the day we fought their jet fighters and tanks in the streets to foil the takeover.
Every day, a member of the terrorist group is caught and turns into an informant, often revealing the names of dozens of "sleepers" that are then arrested. They include members of the military, police and other civil servants. There are also businessmen in the mix.
Before the coup, there was a struggle to weed out Gülen supporters from state offices and end their domination in state services. However, authorities were stalled by laws and could not really cleanse the state system of these villains. If a member of the gang was dismissed, he or she would be reinstated by a court decision presided by a FETÖ-linked judge.
However, after the coup, the state of emergency gave the state the upper hand to cope with FETÖ more effectively. Thus, thousands of FETÖ members were dismissed from state offices, while others were arrested and sent to jail. Some were denied pensions.
Authorities also traced the financial sources of the terrorist group, which happened to be predominant businessmen and businesses across the country. Businessmen that provided funds for FETÖ were arrested and their companies were handed to receivers.
Now that the state of emergency is ending, we find ourselves in a rather awkward situation. The fight against FETÖ is far from over, and the state needs ammunition to cope with the traitors. That is why Parliament is now pushing through legislation that allows authorities to dismiss suspected FETÖ members from state offices for the next three years. An important clause in this legislation also allows authorities to hand over companies suspected of funding FETÖ to receivers and send their proprietors to jail. That clause is also valid for only three years.
Besides these measures, the governors are being given extraordinary powers to declare certain places off limits for a certain periods and are also allowed to ban demonstrations "if public security is in jeopardy." However, the citizens' right to assemble and demonstrate remains intact, and people can protest any time, with no time restrictions.
Detention periods, which can be extended twice, are back to two days. Groups of violators can be detained for four days, so we are back to the old system that existed before the 2016 coup attempt.
Of course, some claim all these measures actually form a "veiled" state of emergency and, in essence, nothing has changed in Turkey. Yet, that assumption is completely wrong.
The state has to protect itself, especially since the FETÖ threat remains very real. There are unfortunately too many sleepers inside Turkey as well as active FETÖ members abroad, including their leader, who is living in the U.S. and continuing his covert activities from afar.