New wave of mass purges in Turkey target thousands

According to the Official Gazette, the orders were agreed upon at the April 17 meeting of the cabinet headed by Erdogan.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish authorities on Saturday dismissed 3,974 civil servants and military personnel on the grounds of allegedly posing a threat to national security or having ties to “terrorist groups.”

Two new decrees signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also ordered the closure of 32 non-governmental organizations and 13 health institutions.

According to the Official Gazette, the directives were green-lighted at the April 17 cabinet meeting headed by Erdogan, a day after he acquired sweeping new powers by referendum. The opposition contests the referendum's legitimacy.

Among the expelled were at least 600 military officers of the Turkish army, NATO’s second largest, of which a “clique” attempted a coup d’etat against Erdogan’s rule last year.

A nation-wide state of emergency, extended at least three times, has been in place in the country since July 2016. It provides the government, its judiciary, and the police, a large swath of unchecked powers.

The government additionally fired close to 500 academics from universities across the country and cut the state-provided scholarship of 59 students studying abroad.

Some popular television dating programs also fell victim to the latest decrees as a ban on such shows, and the advertisement of suggestive products on satellite came into effect.

However, 236 people previously discharged from state employment by earlier decrees were given their jobs back. The government reinstated a civilian security system of neighborhood watch with seven thousand vacant positions.

New rules followed an earlier ban on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which authorities said was due to articles “supportive of terrorist groups.”

Since the failed coup which killed 240 people, a majority of them civilians, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has dismissed over 120,000 people and detained more than 40,000 others.


Editing by G. H. Renaud