In the latest Turkish crackdown on civil freedoms, the governor's office in Turkey's capital, Ankara, announced a month-long ban on public gatherings and all forms of protests, including sit-ins, hunger strikes, concerts and similar gatherings in order to "protect public order" claiming that such activities increase the chances of terrorist attacks. The statement from the Ankara governor's office was released amid fears of protests following the arrest of two Turkish teachers, Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca, who have been on hunger-strike for 140 days after losing their jobs during the public sector purges that followed the failed coup in July 2016.
The governor's office said all mass events such as sit-ins, hunger-strikes and open-air concerts offered a target to groups like the Islamic State terror organization and are therefore to be banned in Ankara throughout the month of August.
Previously, the Turkish Constitutional Court rejected a petition for the release of the two fired educators and argued that being in prison did "not pose a threat to their lives and physical or moral integrity" although a statement by the lawyers of educationists said their health was deteriorating and they were facing heart failure.
This crackdown on virtually all forms of public gatherings was put in place in accordance to an article of a law on meetings and demonstrations under the national state of emergency that has been in effect since the failed coup.
Officials gave further justification to their latest ruling by linking the detained teachers to the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party, a far-left group that is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Under the current - and unlikely to ever end - state of emergency, Turkish officials can cite public safety concerns to directly impose laws that may strip away fundamental rights, such as the right to peaceful protest, without having to pass legislation through the traditional channels.