Turkey sacks 88 Foreign Ministry staff in post-coup crackdown

July 28, 2016 5:30 pm

This picture taken on July 27, 2016 in Istanbul shows the gate of Murat Hudagendigar University under chain. ©AFP

The Turkish Foreign Ministry
staffers have become the latest target of Ankara’s coup-related
crackdown, with officials saying dozens of employees have been fired
over suspected links to the recent foiled putsch.

Speaking
to Turkish broadcaster NTV on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu said 88 employees of the ministry were sacked on suspicion of
having links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based opposition cleric accused of
being the mastermind of the botched military coup.
The dismissals
were the latest in a series of purges related to the July 15 coup
attempt in . Reports say more than 60,000 people have been sacked,
suspended or detained as part of the government’s massive clampdown on
those branded as coup plotters or sympathizers.
At least 246
people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries when an
army faction, using hijacked helicopters and tanks, clashed with
government troops and people on the streets of the capital, Ankara, and
the city of Istanbul.
Shortly after the coup bid was declared over
on July 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of being
behind the coup attempt.

A
detained Turkish soldier who allegedly took part in a military coup
arrives with his hands bound behind his back at the Istanbul Justice
Palace (Adalet Sarayi) on July 20, 2016. ©AFPHowever,
Gulen denied any involvement and warned that the blame game could be a
ploy by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party to cement its
grip on power.
The Turkish government has asked the US government to extradite Gulen. Washington has said it is considering Ankara’s request.
Many
of those purged have been from the military, although the government
said Wednesday that the number of dismissed soldiers and officers
accounted only for 1.5 percent of the armed forces.
The
developments come as top military commanders were to meet later in the
day to decide on one of the most radical shake-ups in the history of the
country’s armed forces.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is to
attend the meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) in Ankara,
which will also see the participation of land, sea and air force
commanders, along with other top figures untarnished by the attempted
power grab.
The council will decide on the personnel changes
deemed necessary after the coup. Many say this will be an opportunity to
promote lower-ranking officers to fill gaps created in top positions
after the massive crackdown.
A Turkish official said, confirming a
government decree, that 87 land army generals, 30 air force
generals and 32 admirals have been dishonorably discharged over their
complicity in the coup.
The source said 1,099 officers and 436 junior officers have also received a dishonorable discharge.
The Turkish government has vowed to severely punish coup plotters, sparking concerns about human rights breaches.
Amnesty
International said earlier that it has “credible evidence” that around
10,000 Turkish soldiers face severe punishments for their part of the
failed military coup against Erdogan.

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