The Turkish government has dismissed over 7,000 people, mostly police officers, civil servants and academics, from their jobs as part of the latest wave of crackdown against those accused of supporting a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year.
According to the latest decree on Friday, 2,303 police personnel, including some from senior ranks, and 302 academics from universities across the Anatolian country lost their jobs, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.
It added that the ruling also stripped 342 retired officers and troopers of their ranks and grades.
During the July 15 putsch last year, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of President Erdogan was no more in charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.
Ankara has since accused Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish clericand opposition figure, of orchestrating and masterminding the coup. He is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating the country’s institutions, particularly the army, police and the Judiciary. Turkey has also outlawed the Gulen movement, his large organization, in the country and has branded it as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Gulen, however, categorically denied the allegation.
Turkish officials have frequently called on the US to extradite Gulen, but it has taken no concrete measure so far.
Gulen condemns ‘despicable putsch’
Meanwhile, Gulen denounced the “despicable putsch” and reiterated that he had no role in it.
“Accusations against me related to the coup attempt are baseless and politically motivated slanders,” he said.
The 76-year-old cleric also called on Ankara to end its “witch hunt” of his followers, a move he said is aimed at “weeding out anyone it deems disloyal to President Erdogan and his regime.”
“The government’s treatment of innocent citizens during the past year is dragging Turkey into the category of the countries with the worst record of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms in the world,” he further said in his Friday’s statement.
Gulen has accused Erdogan of orchestrated the coup as a false flag to crack down on those disloyal to him across the country.
‘State of emergency addiction’
Turkey, which remains in a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that he would propose extension of the emergency rule by another three months when it expires next week.
His announcement, however, was condemned by Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), with its deputy leader Bulent Tezcan accusing the government of becoming “addicted” to ruling the country under a state of emergency.
“They got used to ruling Turkey under the state of emergency. It has become like a drug addiction,” Tezcan said at a press conference.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.
The international community and rights groups have been highly critical of the Turkish president over the massive dismissals and the crackdown.