Turkey sacks 18,600 staff under emergency decree

ANKARA • Turkish authorities yesterday ordered the dismissal of more than 18,600 state employees, including police officers, soldiers and academics, ahead of the expected end of a two-year state of emergency this month.

The Official Gazette said 18,632 people had been sacked, including 8,998 police officers, over suspected links to terror organisations that "act against national security", in what could be the last of the purges under emergency rule.

Turkey has been in a state of emergency since the July 2016 attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but the European Union and critics have repeatedly called on Ankara to end it.

Turkish media dubbed yesterday's decree as the "last", with officials indicating that the government could declare emergency rule over as early as today.

The latest period is officially due to end on July 19.

Mr Erdogan will be sworn in as president today after his outright victory in June 24 elections under a new executive presidency. Following that, there will be a lavish ceremony and then the new Cabinet will be announced.

The current parliamentary system will end today after constitutional changes were approved in a 2017 referendum.

Turkey accuses US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the attempted coup. The majority of those fired under the emergency decree are accused of links to Mr Gulen.

Over 110,000 public sector employees have been removed from their jobs via emergency decrees since July 2016.

The government refers to the movement as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation", but Mr Gulen strongly denies any coup links and insists his movement is peaceful.

Over 110,000 public sector employees have been removed from their jobs via emergency decrees since July 2016, while tens of thousands more have been suspended in a crackdown.

In the new decree, 3,077 army soldiers were also dismissed as well as 1,949 air force personnel and 1,126 from the naval forces.

Another 1,052 civil servants from the justice ministry and linked institutions have been fired, as well as 649 from the gendarmerie and 192 from the coast guard.

Authorities also sacked 199 academics, according to the new decree, while 148 state employees from the military and ministries were reinstated.

Yesterday's decree shut down 12 associations, many of them in the education sector, across the country as well as three newspapers and a television channel.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2018, with the headline 'Turkey sacks 18,600 staff under emergency decree'. Print Edition | Subscribe