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Turkey to suspend human rights convention during state of emergency

Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus says European Convention of Human Rights will be suspended, as parliament gathers to approve measures
Government supporters wave Turkish flags during a rally at Kizilay Square in Ankara on 20 July (AFP)

Turkey's government spokesman said on Thursday it would suspend its obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights following the declaration of a state of emergency after last week's attempted coup.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the measure would not affect fundamental rights and freedoms and compared the situation in Turkey to France, where a state of emergency has been in place since last November's Islamic State group attacks in Paris.

"France proclaimed a state of emergency too, and they have suspended the ECHR under article 15 of the convention," said Kurtulmus, who said the measure would be formally announced later in a statement.

Article 15 allows parties who have ratified the ECHR to derogate from some obligations during times of war or public emergency.

The article states there should be no derogation from article 2, the right to life; article 3 prohibiting torture; paragraph 1 of article 4 banning slavery; and article 7, which states all punishment should fit statutory law.

These articles must be upheld "except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of war".

The Turkish parliament is due to vote to approve the state of emergency on Thursday afternoon.

Kurtulmus said that the state of emergency could last for less than the declared three-month period.

"We want to end the state of emergency as soon as possible," he said.

"If conditions return to normal, we think it will take a one or one-and-a-half month period at the maximum. I hope there will be no need for a further extension."

Turkey has been accused of waging a purge since last Friday's attempted coup in which thousands of military personnel and public officials have been detained or dismissed.

But Kurtulmus said: “I want to guarantee that fundamental rights and freedoms and normal daily life will not be affected by this. Our citizens should feel comfortable about that."

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