ISTANBUL (AP) — The streets of Turkey’s major cities were calm Friday, a day after Turkish lawmakers responded to an attempted coup by approving a three-month state of emergency that allows the government to extend detention times and issue decrees.
However, in a sign of the underlying tensions in the country, protesters went to the Etimesgut military base in Ankara late Thursday and parked trucks and a bulldozer outside — possibly for fear that tanks might try to leave the facility.
It was not clear what sparked the tension, and power to the base appeared to have been cut.
Parliament on Thursday voted 346-115 to approve the national state of emergency, which gives sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He has said the state of emergency will counter threats to Turkish democracy, though critics are urging restraint because they fear the measure would violate basic freedoms.
Even without the emergency measures, Turkey has already imposed a crackdown that has included mass arrests, mass firings and the closure of hundreds of schools.
Erdogan said the new powers would allow the government to rid the military of the “virus” of subversion and has blamed the July 15 coup attempt on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric has denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.
Those recently targeted in the government crackdown include prominent journalist Orhan Kemal Cengiz and his wife, Sibel Hurtas, who were detained at Istanbul’s main international airport as they prepared to leave the country Thursday. They were taken to police headquarters for questioning, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.