Following the 2016 failed military coup attempt in Turkey, which some suspect was orchestrated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to smoke out any and all of his opposition, the country dismissed over 100,000 people working in government sector – including law enforcement officials, academics, judges, doctors and teachers.
While most of them were detained for a long period of time, almost half of them were charged for having alleged links to exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accused of being the architect behind the coup.
Now, even with the country planning to lift the state of emergency that has been in place for two years, it appears the purge is far from over.
A day before Erdogan was set to start his new term as executive president, an 11th hour decree dismissed over 18,600 civil servants for having alleged links to terrorism and supposedly posing a threat to the country.
“The recent purge is a further consolidation of the grip on power that Erdogan has been working on particularly since the attempted coup,” Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London based political risk consultants Cornerstone Global Associates, told Bloomberg. “The purge is surprising in its magnitude and many will accuse Erdogan of going after anyone who opposes him.”
The 460 page ruling, published in the Official Gazette the state of emergency, dismissed about 9,000 police officers, over 6,000 military officials, nearly 200 academics and 650 teachers. Moreover, 12 non-government organization, three newspapers and one TV channel were also shut down.
The retired personnel in the list will lose their pensions while all those who have been fired will have their passports cancelled.
The Turkish autocrat’s massive arrest campaign has been widely criticized as an attempt to crush dissent in the country – and now, with the country replacing its parliamentary system with an executive presidency, Erdogan will have expanded powers to punish those he think could pose danger to his dictatorship.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Umit Bektas