Turkey Fires 4,000 Public Workers In Latest Purge

The Turkish president has signed twin executive decrees to fire nearly 4,000 public employees, shut down one newspaper and one magazine as well as dozens of foundations and associations in the latest wave of the post-coup crackdown.

The decrees also restored 731 public employees who were mistakenly sacked in past decrees.

A decree, called KHK in Turkish, is a vast discretion of power granted to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after Turkey’s top security council introduced the state of emergency in the wake of a failed military coup last summer. The 24th decree was issued on Saturday, shutting down 14 associations, 13 health clinics, and 18 foundations.

Among the closed associations are two that are dealing with disabled people, while others include a cultural group and a sports club of a university. Most of the 18 foundations that were shut down are cultural and educations institutions. Since the military coup attempt, over 4,000 associations and foundations were shut down on charges of having links to the coup.

Critics point out that Mr. Erdogan has cast his net too wide in responding to an attempt to overthrow his rule, seizing the opportunity to undermine the civil society and cleanse the bureaucracy from non-loyalists.

The dismissal of thousands of public workers on Saturday just came two days after Turkish authorities suspended over 9,000 police officers and issued an arrest warrant for nearly 5,000 individuals. The intensifying purge follows a widely disputed referendum on constitutional changes that granted sweeping powers to Mr. Erdogan and weakened the separation of powers. At least 6 personnel from Supreme Board of Elections were also fired.

In Saturday’s decrees, at least 484 academics were fired while 98 administrative personnel from various universities were dismissed, adding to over 5,000 academics that were purged since the coup last summer.

At least 1,127 personnel from the Justice Ministry, including judges, court clerks, and prison guards, were dismissed.

Nearly a thousand officers were dismissed from the army, most of whom are at the beginning of their careers. 478 officers from Land Forces (including 1 general and 36 colonels), 141 officers from Navy (including 13 colonels), 447 officers from Turkish Air Forces, 58 officers from Gendarmerie General Command, 120 officers from Coast Guards and 44 personnel from General Staff and Defense Ministry were fired.

At least 216 health workers, including doctors, nurses, and midwives, 201 imams and religious service members, 538 personnel from dozens of ministries and state institutions were dismissed.

The Turkish government also cut scholarship aid to nearly 60 students studying abroad, mostly in the U.K. and the U.S. Diplomas of anyone who studied at Gulen-linked schools and universities anywhere in the world won’t be recognized.

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