Turkey purges 7,000 police, academics, officials on eve of coup anniversary

Aris Messinis, AFP | A police officer stands next to an armoured vehicle that was used by soldiers during the coup attempt at Taksim square in Istanbul on July 17, 2016.

Turkey dismissed more than 7,000 police, civil servants and academics on Friday, on the eve of the anniversary of last year’s attempted coup.


The latest decree is part of a crackdown triggered by the failed coup, which Turkey says was organised by US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan.

In all, Turkey has sacked or suspended more than 150,000 officials, and arrested some 50,000 people from the military, police, judiciary, academia and other sectors.

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The latest decree dismissed 2,303 police, including some from senior ranks, alongside 302 academics from universities across the country. The decree also stripped 342 retired officers and soldiers of their ranks and grades.

More than 240 people, most of them civilians, were killed last July when rogue soldiers tried to overthrow Erdogan’s government.

Speaking the same day as the latest round of purges, Gulen again denied any involvement on Friday in what he called a "despicable putsch" but also called on Ankara to end a "witch hunt" of his allies and supporters.

"I reiterate my condemnation of the despicable putsch and its perpetrators," he said, while decrying the government for conducting a "witch hunt to weed out anyone it deems disloyal to President Erdogan and his regime".

"Accusations against me related to the coup attempt are baseless, politically motivated slanders," Gulen said in a statement from his base in Pennsylvania.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

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