Turkey sacks thousands of civil servants

Turkey dismisses another 10,000 civil servants over suspected links to failed July coup.

Ben Ariel ,

Turkish flag
Turkish flag

Turkey on Sunday dismissed another 10,000 civil servants and closed 15 more media outlets over suspected links with terrorist organizations and U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which is blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a failed coup in July, Reuters reported.

More than 100,000 people have already been fired or suspended and 37,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt, part of an unprecedented crackdown President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says is crucial for wiping out the network 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, according to Reuters.

Opposition parties described the move as a coup in itself. The continued crackdown has also raised concerns over the functioning of the state.

Meanwhile, a Turkish court formally arrested Firat Anli, the co-mayor of the largely Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, on a charge of membership of a terrorist organization. Prosecutors also sought the arrest of co-mayor Gultan Kisanak, detained alongside Anli five days ago and whose questioning continues, security sources said.

Earlier police used rubber pellets to break up several hundred protesters marching against their arrests.

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, for its part, says the actions are justified given the threat to the state posed by the coup attempt, in which more than 240 people died.

The government has already 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.

Gulen, who leads from exile a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdogan over a corruption scandal in 2013, has denied involvement in the coup and has hinted that the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.

Erdogan's government has repeatedly called on the U.S. to extradite Gulen.

On Saturday, Erdogan also vowed to bring back the death penalty to Turkey as punishment for the coup plotters.

Capital punishment was abolished in Turkey in 2004 as the nation sought accession to the European Union.