21,000 teachers the subject of purge
Turkey has intensified a sweeping crackdown on the media, the military, the courts and the education system following last week’s attempted coup.
Tens of thousands of teachers and other state employees are one of the biggest targets for dismissal in a purge that raised concerns about basic freedoms and the effectiveness of key institutions.
The Turkish government focused in particular on teachers suspected of backing Friday’s failed uprising, taking steps to revoke the licences of 21,000 teachers at private schools and sacking or detaining half a dozen university presidents.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused USbased cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers run a worldwide network of schools, of fomenting the insurrection, which was quashed by security forces and protesters loyal to the government.
Gulen, who lives in selfimposed exile in Pennsylvania and has denied the coup accusations, is increasingly becoming a source of tension between the US and Turkey, which has requested the cleric’s extradition.
The two NATO allies cooperate in the US-led war against ISIS, with American military planes flying missions from Turkey’s Incirlik air base into neighbouring Iraq and Syria.
Yesterday, Erdogan was leading an emergency meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council, the highest advisory body on security issues. The president, who has said he narrowly escaped being killed or captured by renegade military units, previously declared that an “important decision” would be announced.
While Turks speculated on what the new measure might be, it was almost certain to bolster an aggressive campaign against perceived enemies across a wide spectrum of Turkish society, from schools to the courts to the highest levels of government.
SUPPORT: For the Turkish government after the failed coup