Turkey dismisses over 2,700 in post-coup purges


Ankara (AFP)

Turkey on Sunday ordered the dismissal of over 2,700 people working in public institutions over alleged links to "terror" in the latest round of purges since last year's failed coup.

A total of 2,756 people were removed from different bodies including the interior, foreign and defence ministries, according to the official gazette.

After the July 15, 2016 coup bid, the government introduced a state of emergency, which has since been renewed five times, the latest in October.

Among those dismissed were 637 military personnel and 105 academics.

The emergency decree said those sacked were either members of or had links to "terror" organisations and structures which were acting against national security.

The decree published in the gazette also ordered 17 institutions to be shut down across Turkey including two newspapers and seven associations.

Turkey claims US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and his Hizmet (service) movement ordered and conducted the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The movement is referred to by the Turkish state as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation" (FETO) but Gulen denies any links to terror and the failed putsch.

Ankara also accuses Gulen and his followers of infiltrating state institutions.

In a bid to remove what Erdogan calls the "virus" of Gulen's influence, Ankara embarked on a widescale purge in state bodies which has raised concern in the West.

More than 140,000 people including judges, teachers and academics have been sacked or suspended since July 2016, while over 55,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen and the coup attempt.

There have also been arrests of those accused of links to outlawed Kurdish militants, including the co-leader of the main pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtas.

Critics accuse the government of using the emergency to target government opponents including journalists as well as pro-Kurdish critics.