ISTANBUL Turkish authorities have expelled more than 3,900 people from the civil service, military and gendarmerie, the government said in its Official Gazette on Saturday, in what appears to be the latest large-scale purge related to last year’s failed coup.
The expelled included prison guards, clerks, academics, and employees of the religious affairs ministry, all of whom were suspected of links to “terrorist organisations and structures presenting a threat to national security” the government said.
It is the second large-scale purge since the narrow victory of an April 16 referendum giving President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers. On Wednesday more than 9,000 police personnel were suspended and another 1,000 detained for alleged links to the network of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed coup.
Some 1,127 employees of the justice ministry, including prison guards and clerks, 484 academics, and 201 employees from the religious affairs directorate, the government said on Saturday.
Some 120,000 people have already been suspended from jobs ranging from the civil service to the private sector, and more than 40,000 arrested, following last year’s failed coup.
Mass detentions immediately after the attempted coup were supported by many Turks, who agreed with Erdogan when he blamed Gulen for orchestrating the putsch which killed 240 people, mostly civilians. But criticism mounted as the arrests widened.
Relatives of those detained or sacked since July say they have nothing to do with the armed attempt to overthrow the government, and are victims of a purge designed to solidify Erdogan’s control.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Can Sezer and Umit Bektas; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Ros Russell)