Turkey could lift state of emergency 'in near future'
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday Turkey could in the future lift the state of emergency that had been imposed following last year's defeated coup.
Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 20, 2016, after the coup bid and has so far extended it three times.
According to the Turkish government, Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Speaking at an event organized for foreign capital investors in Ankara, Erdoğan said: "Although we apply it on a very limited field, it is possible to lift the state of emergency in the future, which is not very far."
The president said nobody in Turkey had suffered due to state of emergency.
"It is out of question that our own people or anybody from among international investors has suffered under the state of emergency," Erdoğan said.
He also said judicial steps taken during FETO probes across the country have started to take shape. He added Turkey had gained important ground in the fight against the PKK terror group as well.
- EUROPE'S LACK OF FREEDOM
During his speech, he also slammed the decision of some European countries forbidding Turkish officials from rallies or addressing their expatriate citizens.
"We wanted to hold a hall meeting in Hamburg, Germany, with our expats during the G20. We said that it was not necessary to hold it in Hamburg, we could do it in some other place but they did not allow it. What happened to freedom? Why are you not allowing it?" he asked.
He said western countries were not even allowing Turkish ministers to speak to their people.
"They are afraid of freedom of thought," he said. "They are afraid because they do not trust their thoughts. As we trust in our thoughts, we are not afraid of freedom of thought. We are comfortable."
In recent months Turkey has strongly objected to European governments denying its officials permission to hold rallies or address expatriate citizens. This included Erdoğan, who last week wanted to address Turkish expats in Germany when he visited for the G20 summit, and several officials who were barred from addressing citizens ahead of Turkey's April 16 constitutional referendum.
About media freedom, the president said: "It is not be possible to have unlimited freedom in the media. If media misuses every kind of freedom in order to destabilize the country… they will have to face justice as well," he said.
Last month, main opposition party deputy Enis Berberoglu, who was a journalist as well, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for leaking secret information for the purpose of political or military espionage.
Imprisonment of Berberoglu had drawn criticism by some opposition figures and international community.