Turkish civil servants sacked for being potential threat to national security

9 Jul 18

More than 18,000 Turkish civil servants have been sacked for allegedly posing a security risk to the state.

About 9,000 police, more than 6,000 army officers, 200 academics and 650 teachers were among the public sector workers dismissed on Sunday, according to the latest decree by the Turkish government, published under its state of emergency.

This comes just days before the country was to be lifted out of the state of emergency, which has been in place in the country since five days after military coup attempt on 20 July 2016.

The government suspects that the civil servants are individuals linked to a group that “acts against national security” and is believed to have links to US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for the failed 2016 coup.

Gulen denies all allegations.

Three newspapers, one TV channel and 12 non-governmental organisations were also shut down as part of the crackdown.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to be sworn in with new powers today Monday after he was re-elected with 53% of the vote last month.

He has promised to lift the state of emergency, which has been renewed seven times since 2016 and expires on 19 July.

The state of emergency has seen mass arrests and sackings in Turkey. This latest round brings the total number of dismissals from Turkey’s civil service since July 2016 to 130,000.

It has also been used to justify the torture of detainees in the country, according to the UN human rights office.

Around 50,000 civil servants have been formally charged and kept in jail during their trials.

Although 148 people who have been fired were to be brought back in under the decree.

The government’s crackdown has been criticised by human rights groups.

Gauri van Gulik, Europe director at Amnesty International, said in April that the international community should put pressure on Turkey against such measures.

"Under the cloak of the state of emergency, Turkish authorities have deliberately and methodically set about dismantling civil society, locking up human rights defenders, shutting down organisations and creating a suffocating climate of fear," she said.

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