Turkey fires 10,000 more civil servants, shutters 15 media organizations

by WorldTribune Staff, October 31, 2016

In the latest wave of purges after the July 15 coup attempt, Turkey has sacked 10,000 more civil servants and shut down 15 more media outlets.

Ankara said those let go in the new round of dismissals are suspected to have links with terrorist organizations by which is meant U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for orchestrating the failed coup.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Pool photo by Murat Cetinmuhurdar
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Pool photo by Murat Cetinmuhurdar

“What the government and Erdogan are doing right now is a direct coup against the rule of law and democracy,” Sezgin Tanrikulu, a parliament member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a Periscope broadcast posted on Twitter.

Academics, teachers, health workers, prison guards and forensics experts were among the latest to be removed from their posts through two new executive decrees published on the Official Gazette on Oct. 29.

The executive decrees also ordered the closure of 15 more newspapers, wires and magazines, which report from the largely Kurdish southeast, bringing the total number of media outlets and publishers closed since July to nearly 160.

Universities have also been stripped of their ability to elect their own rectors according to the decrees. Erdogan will from now on directly appoint the rectors from the candidates nominated by the High Educational Board (YOK).

Erdogan’s government has extended the state of emergency imposed after the coup attempt for three months until mid-January.

Meanwhile, a Turkish court on Oct. 30 formally arrested Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, co-mayors of the largely Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir on charges of membership of a terrorist organization, sources said.

Earlier police used rubber pellets to break up several hundred protesters marching against their arrests. The Internet has been largely down in the city for several days, witnesses said.

The local prosecutor had said Kisanak, a lawmaker before becoming Diyarbakir’s first female mayor in 2014, and Anli had given speeches sympathetic to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), called for greater political autonomy for Turkey’s estimated 16 million Kurds and incited violent protests in 2014.