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What will Turkey look like under a state of emergency?

The failed coup attempt in Turkey has won that nation’s president extraordinary power, in a three-month state of emergency, to impose laws by fiat. Critics fear he will chip away at Turkey's secular constitution. Hari Sreenivasan talks with special correspondent Marcia Biggs and Federica Mogherini, a High Representative/Vice President of the European Union.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Turkish prime minister and expressed — quote — "unyielding support" for Turkish democracy.

    According to the White House, this comes as the crackdown after last Friday's attempted coup in Turkey continues. And, today, the Parliament cemented emergency legislation giving the government expanded powers.

    From Istanbul, special correspondent Marcia Biggs begins our coverage.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Across Turkey this morning, reactions to the declaration of emergency ranged from fearful to welcoming.

  • MAN (through translator):

    I think it could make things worse in a country where we have no freedoms.

  • MAN (through translator):

    I think this is the right move under the current circumstances. We are going through difficult times.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    The move follows last Friday's failed military coup attempt, which killed nearly 250 people and wounded hundreds more. In his announcement last night, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to cleanse what he called viruses in the armed forces.

  • RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through translator):

    This measure is in no way against democracy, the law and freedoms. On the contrary, it aims to protect and strengthen them.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Erdogan's government had already embarked on a sweeping crackdown of mass arrests and mass firings since the coup. But Parliament's overwhelming approval of the state of emergency fully authorizes him to impose laws by fiat, hold prisoners in jail longer and take other actions.

    Turkey's markets reacted with a slide, as the lira tumbled to a near-record low and governments around the globe reacted cautiously. Germany called for emergency rule to end as quickly as possible. And in Washington, the White House also urged Ankara not to go too far.

  • JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:

    The United States is not going to micromanage the situation in Turkey. But I think we are going to send a clear, unmistakable signal of support for the democratic institutions of Turkey.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Journalist Andrew Finkel has lived in Turkey for almost 30 years. He spoke to us in Istanbul.

    So, what does this mean for Erdogan and his power?

    ANDREW FINKEL, Founder of P24: Well, it means that he will be free to move against people who he perceives to be his opponents and his enemies.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Are there any limits to this?

  • ANDREW FINKEL:

    It would be a brave person to try and impose those limits. But the thing is, even before the coup happened, he — we were headed down an autocratic path.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Erdogan's government blames opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers for the coup. Gulen now lives in the U.S. in exile.

  • ANDREW FINKEL:

    He preaches a nonviolent variant of Islam. Most people would call it a moderate view of Islam. But his followers were very active in many forms of life. And many believe that his followers pursued a policy of really getting themselves in positions of authority in the bureaucracy, in the police, in the judiciary, et cetera, et cetera, in order to further the aims of the movement.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Here in Turkey, many of those followers attended more than 650 schools founded by Gulen that taught over 200,000 students. Once strong allies, Erdogan and Gulen finally broke in 2013 after Gulen accused Erdogan and his party of corruption, even supplying videotaped evidence.

  • ANDREW FINKEL:

    Mr. Erdogan resented the Gulenists' move on to occupy positions of power and the influence they had within his own government.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Can the country handle losing all these people?

  • ANDREW FINKEL:

    It's 60,000 people. It's a third of the officer corps, colonels or generals or above. You know, who's guarding the store?

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    The numbers of people affected by this purge are staggering; 30,000 people were suspended from their jobs in civil service, 9,000 people were taken into custody; 21,000 teachers had their licenses revoked. Yet, among all these people, we were unable to find anyone who felt free enough to talk to us about it.

    Senel Karatas is the director of Istanbul Human Rights Association. This week, she has been helping the families of soldiers in custody, allegedly tortured by government authorities after the coup. We spoke to her yesterday.

    What does the purge mean for you, someone who fights human rights violations on a daily basis?

  • SENEL KARATAS, Director, Istanbul Human Rights Association (through translator):

    Since the coup, we have seen an extreme rise of abuses and maybe suspension of human rights.

    It was really good that so many people have solidarity against the coup and prevented it. But some people on the streets started to use this atmosphere as an opportunity for revenge

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Are you scared for yourself, for your country?

  • SENEL KARATAS (through translator):

    Yes. The state of emergency is the main concern for the future of democracy. It will lead to a rise in human rights abuses, and we will fall into despair.

  • MARCIA BIGGS:

    Turkey has now suspended its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights. The deputy prime minister insisted today that — quote — "Standards of the European Court of Human Rights will be upheld," but he didn't elaborate.

    For now, Senel says she is doubtful, but will continue her work.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Marcia Biggs in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Turkey's stability and its commitment to human rights are but two of the challenges facing Europe in the wake of the attempted coup. Turkey is also instrumental in the fight against ISIS and stemming the flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East to Europe.

    Now we explore Europe's options.

    Earlier this evening, I sat down with Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top diplomat. She is in Washington for a donor conference, raising money for humanitarian aid to Iraq.

    Thanks for joining us.

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI, High Representative/Vice President, European Union:

    Thank you very much for inviting me.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right, so first things first.

    In the past week, Turkey has been going through a significant amount of turmoil. There was an attempted coup. They have detained and fired tens of thousands of people. They are now declaring a state of emergency, and they're saying that they want to bring back the death penalty.

    So, aren't these the type of violations of human rights or civil liberties that should stop them from becoming a member of the E.U., which they want to be?

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    You know, what is happening in Turkey is extremely important, both for Europe and America.

    And we were saying together with Secretary Kerry that, as it was important to stop the coup, it is very important that the reaction to the coup is one that takes into consideration human rights, rule of law. And we're seeing in these days things that are completely unacceptable, being that against the word of university or media, the judiciary.

    And we are saying very clearly and loud, both Europeans and Americans together, that, yes, the state institutions needs to be preserved democratically, so the president, government, Parliament, but that fundamental freedoms have to be respected and protected. And we're going to continue this way.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    So, what's the leverage that the E.U. has? Will you say to Turkey, if you do this, you're not going to become a part of the E.U.?

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    Well, we have said it very clearly.

    For instance, if you introduce the death penalty that was abolished exactly for negotiations to enter the European Union, if you are reintroducing the death penalty, you are not going to become a member of the European Union. That's very clear.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    So, one of the things that you have been able to do with Turkey is to slow the flow of migrants coming from Turkey into Greece.

    You have sort of orchestrated almost a refugee swap. If they can keep the people coming across from Turkey to Greece, perhaps the European Union can take some people from Syria.

    What if Turkey says, you know what, stay out of our business, we have to deal with what this attempted coup was, we have to take the measures we have to take? And what if they decide let's just let people through, let people go back to Europe again?

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    The deal we had with Turkey had nothing to do with the swap.

    What we have decided to do and what we are doing is to support the hosting of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as we're doing in Jordan or in Lebanon. That's the humanitarian thing. And, by the way, it's also a security issue.

    I'm here in Washington today because Secretary Kerry invited this anti-Da'esh coalition ministerial meeting. It has to do with a global effort to manage the situation that is spilling out of Syria, with serious consequences on all the neighboring countries, including Turkey.

    Turkey is a country that is hosting the largest number of refugees in the world at this moment. So, the agreement we have with Turkey is about making lives of Syrian refugees sustainable and making the life of the Turkish hosting communities sustainable.

    So, it's humanitarian. It's aimed also at preventing radicalization among the Syrian refugees. It's important. It's in our interest. It's in the interest of the whole international community. And we're going to continue that way.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    But when you talk about radicalization, that is something that Europe is facing much, much closer than even the United States.

    Well, who — what do you do to try and stop the attackers that struck in Paris, in Brussels and Nice?

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    So, first of all, we have to realize that this is a global challenge that requires a global work, a global coalition.

    That is why it's so important that America and Europe stays together and works together in this respect. We have today a partnership between Europe and America that is as strong as ever. And this is extremely important to face this challenge together.

    It's not something that comes from the outside of our societies. We see it in here and we see it in Europe. It's people that were born and raised in our own societies. So there is part of our work that is focused on defeating Da'esh on the ground in Syria, Iraq, but also in Libya and elsewhere, but is also a cultural, I would say, a social part of the work, that is aimed at preventing our own youth to get radicalized.

    Take the case of Nice, somebody that got radicalized, if we can talk about that, in a few weeks' time. So, violence is somehow preceding the radicalization. It has nothing to do with religion, has much more to do with violence.

    So, this is the kind of effort we're doing, together with our Arab friends, also with a strong component of the Asian partners in those efforts, because the risk is not only for Europe. It's for United States, for the Middle East, obviously, but also for Asia, as we have seen in many different places. It's a global effort, and this is why we need America to stay engaged.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Speaking of America, you have said that part of the strategy going forward for the E.U. is to strengthen E.U. relations with the NATO allies.

    The Republican candidate for president just said that he would make NATO response to a crisis conditional on those countries paying more for the protection. What do you think of that?

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    You know, in Europe, we are strengthening our defense capabilities, including also investment in defense capabilities.

    But I think that everybody here in America understands very well that NATO has provided peace and security, not only for Europe, but for all of the Western world, for so many decades. It's part of our history. I think it's part of our future. And when NATO is investing in security also in Europe, it's doing that also for America's security.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Is there a position that the European Union might take if Donald Trump does come into power and if he wants to implement the strategy?

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    You know, I have my own personal opinions, preferences, political views.

    But the point is that Europe and America need to work together, are bound to work together. In a world like this, with terrorism, conflicts, crisis, dangers everywhere, you need friends. And Europe and America are the best friends we can find on both sides of the Atlantic.

    So, on the European side, we are committed to work with America in any circumstances, with any president that is elected. What I can say, though, is that I remember very well when Obama was elected in 2008. In his first speech in Chicago, he was saying about restoring friendships and alliances that were, let's say, going through difficult times.

    I think he delivered on this. And I can only hope that the next president will do the same.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right, Federica Mogherini, thanks so much for joining us.

  • FEDERICA MOGHERINI:

    Thank you.

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