Friday 21 October 2016

Military sackings and media clampdown in Erdogan's purge of 'dissidents'

Elena Becatoros Istanbul

Published 29/07/2016 | 02:30

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

More than 80 Turkish foreign ministry staff have been sacked as a purge of thousands of soldiers, police and state employees continues following a failed coup.

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Two senior generals reportedly resigned from their posts yesterday morning after almost 1,700 military personnel were dishonourably discharged for their alleged role in the attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The cull included 149 generals and admirals, which would represent roughly 40pc of all top-level Turkish military staff.

Binali Yildirim, the prime minister, was set to chair a meeting of the Supreme Military Council yesterday, where he was expected to signal more dismissals as part of a major shake-up within the country's armed forces.

Authorities claim the failed coup on July 15 was staged by a military faction loyal to exiled Muslim cleric Fetullah Gülen, who lives in the US.

But the Gülen or 'Hismet' movement denied involvement and the leaders of the coup said only that they wanted "to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms" as battles raged in Ankara.

Hundreds of soldiers armed with fighter jets, helicopters and tanks took control of key areas of the capital while Mr Erdogan was on holiday, but were defeated after the president flew into Istanbul to make a defiant speech against an "act of treason and rebellion".

Around 16,000 people have since been detained over suspected links to the failed uprising and tens of thousands of state employees - including police, teachers and judges - have been dismissed from their posts.

Arrest warrants were issued for 89 journalists and 131 media outlets have been shut down using powers under Turkey's state of emergency - including news agencies, television channels, newspapers, magazines, radio stations and publishers.

Amnesty International said human rights were "in peril" in Turkey and condemned the "swift and brutal" response enabled by the three-month state of emergency.

Irish Independent

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