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The government of Turkey issued a blanket decree Sunday firing 18,632 state employees for unspecified “links with terror groups” and has increased the number of arrests for “insulting the president” ahead of the inauguration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Monday.
Erdoğan won re-election on June 24 in an election international observers decried as significantly hindered by the opposition’s lack of access to media and Erdoğan’s total domination of electoral coverage, as well as widespread allegations of fraud at the ballot. It is the first election following a referendum that transitions Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system, granting Erdoğan the powers of the prime minister’s office, which no longer exists, and greatly expanding his ability to rule by decree without adding any significant checks to his new power.
Radio - Free - Europe/Radio - Liberty - Government
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Turkish government specified that those removed from their posts were suspected of ties to groups that “act against national security.” It did not provide any information on which groups it meant, however.
Yeni Safak, a pro-Erdoğan Turkish newspaper, specified that about 6,000 of those fired were in the military, about half were in the police forces, and the remainder within the nation’s judiciary or state academia. The newspaper adds that the decree not only expelled these individuals from their positions but also shut down three more newspapers and a television network, without specifying which. Erdoğan has presided over the shutdown or takeover of over one hundred media outlets since the 2016 failed coup, and has facilitated the takeover of independent media the government could not shut down by his allies.
Organizations - Government - Dismissals - Hizmet - Movement
The organizations the government is most likely targeting with these dismissals is Hizmet, a movement led by the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated Marxist terrorist organization. Erdoğan’s government has liberally...
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