Turkey dismisses close to 15,000 more in post-coup probe - official decree

  • World
  • Tuesday, 22 Nov 2016

Pro-government demonstrators hold a giant Turkish flag during a march over the Bosphorus Bridge from the Asian to the European side of Istanbul, Turkey, July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey on Tuesday dismissed close to 15,000 more civil servants, military officials, police and others and shut down 375 institutions and news outlets in investigations over a failed coup in July, authorities said in two official decrees.

More than 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended in the military, civil service, judiciary and elsewhere, while 36,000 people have been jailed pending trial as part of the investigation into the failed putsch.

Ankara blames the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his supporters, which it calls the "Gulenist Terror Organisation," for orchestrating the coup bid, in which more than 240 people were killed.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied involvement and condemned the coup.

Parallel to the purges targeting alleged followers of Gulen, authorities have cracked down on politicians and institutions they accuse of ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 32-year insurgency against Turkey in the largely Kurdish southeast.

About 1,988 personnel from the Turkish Armed Forces, 7,586 from the police force, 403 from the gendarmerie, and more than 5,000 from public institutions were dismissed in Tuesday's crackdown alone over suspected links to terrorist organisations.

Western allies, particularly those in Europe, have voiced concern at the breadth of the purges under President Tayyip Erdogan, even calling for a freezing of Turkey's EU membership talks, while a senior U.N. official has called the measures "draconian" and "unjustified".

Erdogan has rejected such criticism, saying Turkey is determined to root out its enemies at home and abroad, and could reintroduce the death penalty. He has accused Western nations of siding with the coup plotters and harbouring terrorists.

The decrees also announced the closing of 375 institutions, 18 charities, and nine media outlets. Turkey has closed more than 130 media outlets since July.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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