Turkey’s president shuts down thousands of institutions in response to coup

ANKARA, Turkey, July 23 (UPI) — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree closing thousands of institutions and extending the period in which suspects can be detained without charges to 30 days.

According to the Guardian, Erdogan released a statement on Saturday announcing a decree to close 1,043 private schools, 1,229 foundations and associations, 35 medical institutions, 19 unions and 15 universities linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan blames Gulen for orchestrating the attempted military coup against the government last Friday, which ended with nearly 3,000 soldiers arrested and 265 people, including civilians and alleged coup plotters, killed.

The decree, which was Erdogan’s first since implementing a three-month state of emergency on Thursday, also extended the maximum amount of time a suspect can be detained before being charged from four to 30 days.

This decision was criticized by group’s such as Amnesty International, which said it could be indicative of more mass detentions.

“The decision to extend the detention period to 30 days is disproportionate,” Amnesty International Turkey Researcher Andrew Gardner said. “It is too long and given the reports we have received so far it will facilitate torture and undermine the right to a fair trial.”

Erdogan pledged that during the state of emergency “all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed,” but ensured that it would not limit people’s rights and freedoms.

“The state of emergency law will not prevent you from going out; on the contrary it will allow you to gather at the squares,” he said.

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