Turkey sacks 10,000 civil ser­vants, shuts me­dia Op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers de­scribe crack­down as ‘coup’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Turkey said it had dis­missed a fur­ther 10,000 civil ser­vants and closed 15 more me­dia out­lets over sus­pected links with ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions and US-based cleric Fethul­lah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for or­ches­trat­ing a failed coup in July. More than 100,000 peo­ple had al­ready been sacked or sus­pended and 37,000 ar­rested since the failed coup, in an un­prece­dented crack­down the govern­ment says is nec­es­sary to root out all sup­port­ers of Gulen from the state ap­pa­ra­tus.

Thou­sands more aca­demics, teach­ers, health work­ers, prison guards and foren­sics ex­perts were among the lat­est to be re­moved from their posts through two new ex­ec­u­tive de­crees pub­lished on the Of­fi­cial Gazette late on Satur­day. Op­po­si­tion par­ties de­scribed the move as a coup in it­self. The con­tin­ued crack­down has also raised con­cerns over the func­tion­ing of state. “What the govern­ment and Er­do­gan are do­ing right now is a di­rect coup against the rule of law and democ­racy,” Sez­gin Tan­rikulu, an MP from the main op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP), said in a Periscope broad­cast posted on Twit­ter.

The de­crees have or­dered the clo­sure of 15 more news­pa­pers, wires and magazines, which re­port from the largely Kur­dish south­east, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions closed since the emer­gency rule in July to nearly 160. In an­other move set to anger Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan’s op­po­nents, the abil­ity of univer­si­ties to elect their own rec­tors was also abol­ished. Er­do­gan will from now on di­rectly ap­point the rec­tors from the can­di­dates nom­i­nated by the High Ed­u­ca­tional Board (YOK).

Rights groups wor­ried

The ex­tent of the crack­down has wor­ried rights groups and many of Turkey’s Western al­lies, who fear Er­do­gan is us­ing the emer­gency rule to erad­i­cate dis­sent. The govern­ment says the ac­tions are jus­ti­fied fol­low­ing the coup at­tempt on July 15, when more than 240 peo­ple died. Lale Kara­biyik, an­other CHP law­maker, said the move was a clear mis­use of the emer­gency rule de­crees and de­scribed it as a coup d’etat on the high ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Pro-Kur­dish op­po­si­tion said the de­crees were used as tools to es­tab­lish a ‘one-man regime’.

The govern­ment ex­tended the state of emer­gency im­posed af­ter the coup at­tempt for three months un­til mid-Jan­uary. Er­do­gan said the au­thor­i­ties needed more time to wipe out the threat posed by Gulen’s net­work as well as Kur­dish mil­i­tants who have waged a 32-year in­sur­gency. Ankara wants the United States to de­tain and ex­tra­dite Gulen so that he can be pros­e­cuted in Turkey on a charge that he mas­ter­minded the at­tempt to over­throw the govern­ment. Gulen, who has lived in self-im­posed ex­ile in Penn­syl­va­nia since 1999, de­nies any in­volve­ment.

Speak­ing to re­porters at a re­cep­tion mark­ing the Re­pub­lic Day on Satur­day, Er­do­gan said the na­tion wanted the re­in­state­ment of the death penalty, a de­bate which has emerged fol­low­ing the coup at­tempt, and added that de­lay­ing it would not be right. “I be­lieve this is­sue will come to the par­lia­ment,” he said, and re­peated that he would ap­prove it, a move that would sink Turkey’s hopes of Euro­pean Union mem­ber­ship. Er­do­gan shrugged off such con­cerns, say­ing that much of the world had cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. — Reuters

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