From sol­diers to mid­wives, Turkey dis­misses 15,000 more af­ter ‘coup’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ANKARA: Turkey yes­ter­day dis­missed 15,000 more of­fi­cials, from sol­diers and po­lice of­fi­cers to tax in­spec­tors and mid­wives, and shut 375 in­sti­tu­tions and news out­lets, deep­en­ing purges con­demned by West­ern al­lies and rights groups af­ter a failed coup. The lat­est dis­missals, an­nounced in two de­crees, bring to more than 125,000 the num­ber of peo­ple sacked or sus­pended in the mil­i­tary, civil ser­vice, ju­di­ciary and else­where since July’s failed coup. Some 36,000 have been jailed pend­ing trial. Euro­pean al­lies have crit­i­cized the breadth of the purges un­der Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan, with some call­ing for a freez­ing of Turkey’s EU mem­ber­ship talks. A se­nior UN of­fi­cial has called the mea­sures “dra­co­nian” and “un­jus­ti­fied”. Er­do­gan has re­jected such crit­i­cism, say­ing Turkey is de­ter­mined to root out its en­e­mies at home and abroad, and could rein­tro­duce the death penalty. He has ac­cused West­ern na­tions of sid­ing with plot­ters be­hind the coup at­tempt in July and of har­bor­ing ter­ror­ists.

Nearly 2,000 mem­bers of the armed forces, 7,600 po­lice of­fi­cers, 400 mem­bers of the gen­darmerie, and more than 5,000 peo­ple from public in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing nurses, doc­tors and en­gi­neers, were dis­missed in Tues­day’s de­crees for sus­pected links to ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions. Their names were listed in the Of­fi­cial Gazette, which made clear they would not be able to claim any sev­er­ance or seek any other job in public ser­vice. The de­crees were is­sued un­der emer­gency rule im­posed in the wake of the failed coup, which al­lows Er­do­gan and the govern­ment to by­pass par­lia­ment.

Ankara blames US-based cleric Fethul­lah Gulen and his net­work of fol­low­ers, which it refers to as the “Gu­lenist Ter­ror Or­ga­ni­za­tion” (FETO), for or­ches­trat­ing the coup bid, in which more than 240 peo­ple were killed. The cleric de­nies in­volve­ment. Er­do­gan’s op­po­nents say the purges go well be­yond a crack­down on sus­pected Gu­lenists and are be­ing used to crush dis­sent. Those ac­cused are of­ten left un­able to find other work and os­tra­cized in their com­mu­nity, with Turk­ish me­dia re­ports say­ing some have com­mit­ted sui­cide be­fore be­ing put on trial.

Pi­lots, prison war­dens

Sep­a­rately from the lat­est de­crees, au­thor­i­ties is­sued ar­rest war­rants for 60 peo­ple in­clud­ing air force pi­lots in the cen­tral city of Konya over sus­pected Gu­lenist links. More than 300 pi­lots have al­ready been de­tained or dis­missed since the coup, in which the plot­ters com­man­deered fighter jets, tanks and mil­i­tary he­li­copters, bomb­ing par­lia­ment and other govern­ment build­ings in their bid to seize power. In an­other op­er­a­tion around Is­tan­bul, 19 prison staff in­clud­ing the war­den of Turkey’s largest jail Silivri were held on sus­pi­cion of us­ing smart-phone mes­sag­ing app ByLock, which au­thor­i­ties say is used by Gulen’s net­work.

Ar­rest war­rants were also is­sued for 22 ex­ec­u­tives from tele­coms firm Turk Telekom, the Hur­riyet news­pa­per said. It said 12 of them had been de­tained in an op­er­a­tion span­ning four prov­inces. Turk Telekom shares fell 0.35 per­cent, un­der­per­form­ing a 0.4 per­cent rise on the Is­tan­bul stock in­dex. Yes­ter­day’s de­crees also an­nounced the clo­sure of 375 in­sti­tu­tions, 18 char­i­ties, and nine me­dia out­lets. Turkey has closed more than 130 me­dia out­lets since July. The de­crees also said that in­sti­tu­tions pre­vi­ously closed over al­leged links to ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions should be handed over to the state’s Sav­ings De­posit In­sur­ance Fund (TMSF), which has al­ready taken con­trol of a bank, sev­eral me­dia firms and other busi­nesses sus­pected of links to Gulen.

— AP

ANKARA: Turkey’s Pres­i­dent ad­dresses po­lice of­fi­cers in Ankara, Turkey yes­ter­day.

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