Turkish troops patrolled the streets in the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara last week (22 - 24 February) as the turkish Parliament debated the extension of the martial law in thirteen key provinces.
Turkish troops patrolled the streets in the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara last week (22 - 24 February) as the turkish Parliament debated the extension of the martial law in thirteen key provinces. The clamp-down was imposed on December the twenty-sixth last year, after days of bloody political and sectarian riots.
SYNOPSIS: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit imposed the law after more than one hundred people were killed in riots in the southern town of Kahramanmaras, bringing last year's death toll to about one thousand.
During the martial law, troops have kept a low profile, and there has been no curfew. Extra troops were on the street for the weekend in case of demonstrations on the anniversary of the death of a Leftist terrorist, and during the parliamentary debate on extending martial law.
In his speech, Prime Minister Ecevit said the number of deaths, injuries and politically-motivated incidents has plunged since martial law came in.
The main opposition came from former Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel, leader of the right-wing Justice Party.
The debate was heated, with deputies hurling abuse at each other, and stewards had to restrain some who tried to dash to the podium during speeches. The final vote for extending martial law for another two months was three hundred and thirty seven for, and two hundred and twenty-five against. Mr. Ecevit had said he needs the extra two months to restore order, but it would be difficult to do this.
Turkey's top military commander, Chief-of-Staff General Kenan Evren, has rejected right-wing claims that the government has been interfering in the way the martial law has been observed.