Turkey: Thousands fired, investigation stymied on coup attempt anniversary

by WorldTribune Staff, July 16, 2017

The Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued its purge of state institutions one year after a failed coup attempt as the government dismissed more than 7,000 police, ministry staff and academics on July 14.

The official Turkish government Gazette said that those who were fired are people “who it’s been determined have been acting against the security of the state or are members of a terrorist organization.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Istanbul to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. / via AP

Among those listed were 2,303 police officers and 302 university academics. Another 342 retired officers and soldiers were stripped of their ranks and grades, Israel’s Artuz Sheva reported.

“First of all we will chop off the heads of those traitors,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul on July 15, the one-year anniversary of the coup attempt. “I spoke to the prime minister and … when they appear in court, let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s main opposition party says the government is blocking a full investigation into the coup.

Bulent Tezcan, the spokesman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said the government was using the commemorations for the anniversary of the failed July 15, 2016, coup to “write a fabricated history.”

Erdogan accuses a movement loyal to opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen of organizing the coup. More than 250 people were killed in the violence.

Gulen, who from exile in the United States leads the Hizmet movement, has denied involvement in the coup and has hinted that the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.

Washington has thus far resisted calls from Turkish authorities to extradite Gulen.

Tezcan said inquiries into the coup were obstructed to protect Erdogan’s government, which he says is using a state of emergency imposed after the failed coup to create a lawless environment without checks and balances.

“No investigations have been made into how this terror organization got to such a daring point within the state, how it was placed there to attempt a coup, and new information was covered up,” Tezcan told The Associated Press on July 16.

The mass dismissal came one day after Turkish police detained a prominent film director who made a controversial movie showing Erdogan under gunpoint in a bloody coup d’etat.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said the director, Ali Avci, was detained on suspicion of links to Gulen’s group.

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