Turkey's Parliament agreed on Tuesday (21 August) to extend martial law for a further two months in nearly half the country.
GV Soldiers patrolling Ankara streets (3 shots)
GV Troops guarding Taksim Square in Istanbul (7 shots)
GV EXTERIORS Parliament
GV INTERIOR Parliamentary assembly
CU Suleyman Demirel, Chairman of Justice Party
CU Interior Minister Hasan Fehmi Gunes at rostrum stating case for martial law
CU Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit listening
SV & GV Members of Parliament listening to speech (2 shots)
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Background: Turkey's Parliament agreed on Tuesday (21 August) to extend martial law for a further two months in nearly half the country. Martial law was first imposed in thirteen of Turkey's sixty-seven provinces last December when severe rioting left more than a hundred people dead. And in April the number of provinces living under military law was increased by another six.
SYNOPSIS: In Ankara the sight of soldiers patrolling the streets is familiar. Martial law was introduced here and in twelve other provinces last December in an attempt to end political and sectarian rioting. In April martial law was extended to six predominantly Kurdish provinces, partly because of action by Kurdish secessionists and partly out of concern that the events in Iran might cause trouble along the border. But political violence has continued. With clashes between rightwing political groups, leftwing extremists and Islamic sects, an average of three Turks lose their lives every day. And nearly two thousand people are believed to have died in political violence over the last two years.
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit sought parliamentary approval for the extension of the emergency measure. He argues that martial law will not be allowed to destroy basic freedoms or parliamentary democracy. Mr. Suleyman Demirel, the Chairman of the Justice Party charges the government has mishandled the emergency measures. But Interior Minister Hasan Fehmi Gunes stated the case for continued martial law.
Many Turks fear the country's last vestiges of democracy are threatened. The army has ousted politicians twice in the past twenty years, and the present government -- the third in just over a year, has gradually had its small majority reduced by defections from its ranks.