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Turkey Imposes 3-Month Emergency as Erdogan Purges Officials

  • Rights and freedoms won’t be infringed, president tells nation
  • Thousands jailed or fired in purge of army, courts, academia

Turkey imposed a three-month state of emergency as the government pursues those responsible for a failed military coup.

The emergency powers came into effect as of 1 a.m. local time Thursday. The country won’t be under military rule, with army units taking orders from provincial governors, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Ankara on Wednesday after a day of meetings with top generals on the National Security Council, and then ministers in cabinet. He said there’ll be no backsliding from democracy and no pause in economic reforms even as the “virus” of the coup-plotters is wiped out.

Since the attempted putsch by a faction of the armed forces collapsed on Saturday, leaving almost 250 people dead after a night of aerial bombardment and street battles, thousands of army officers, judges and prosecutors have been detained. A wider purge is under way that encompasses universities, schools and the civil service. Financial markets have been thrown into turmoil.

For a QuickTake explainer on Turkey’s political divisions, click here.

Erdogan has accused the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen of being the coup ringleader, and urged the Obama administration to extradite him. Gulen has denied any involvement. A formal extradition request hasn’t been submitted, amid signs of strains between the NATO allies.

The Turkish president later made a televised address to crowds of his supporters, who have thronged streets and squares across the country every night since the coup attempt. The government will use its enhanced powers in the interests of democracy, and...