Friday 30 September 2016

Flanagan 'deeply concerned' about Turkey coup backlash

Published 24/07/2016 | 02:30

Worried: Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Worried: Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, has said the failed coup in Turkey is being used by the government to "significantly weaken" the country's democratic institutions.

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Since last week's uprising, at least 60,000 state employees have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation, as part of a mass purge of the armed forces, police, judiciary and education system.

In his first decree since imposing a state of emergency, President Tayyip Erdogan further tightened his grip yesterday, by ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions.

However, Mr Flanagan has now expressed deep concern over the "systematic removal" of public servants and "people of influence" from their jobs.

"The withdrawal of civil rights is unacceptable. Turkey is one of the candidates likely to be considered in the context of EU enlargement over the next number of years.

"So any withdrawal of human rights, and crackdown on civil liberties, will adversely affect their candidate status."

Suggestions that the death penalty may be reintrod uced is contrary to the values of the EU and Ireland, he added.

"Should this occur, it would prevent Turkey joining the European Union.

"It seems to me that the failed coup is being used by the Turkish government to weaken significantly the democratic institutions in the country, and that's a worry."

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, the Laois-Offaly TD pointed out that over 1,500 university deans have been instructed to resign immediately.

A further 1,500 staff in the Ministry for Finance have been removed from their jobs.

"There appears to be a systematic removal of people from their positions.

"It's a response that appears to be hugely disproportionate to the activities of last weekend."

A number of Western countries have also expressed concern over the scale of the subsequent purges of state institutions.

President Erdogan declared the state of emergency last Wednesday.

He said it would enable the authorities to swiftly and effectively root out supporters of the coup.

Sunday Independent

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