Turkey sacks 15,000 more public workers in post-coup crackdown
More than 15,000 more civil servants, police officers and troops have been sacked by the Turkish government on Tuesday, in the latest purge of public workers suspected of involvement in July's failed coup.
It brings the total number of people affected by Ankara's clampdown to more than 100,000 people who have been arrested, suspended or sacked in the hunt for coup plotters.
The latest decree ordered 7,586 personnel working in the police, including police chiefs and commissioners, were dismissed, while 1,956 soldiers and personnel in the air force and navy were sacked.
Another 403 were removed from the gendarmerie, which looks after domestic security.
Thousands more were dismissed in government ministries and state institutions, including nearly 3,000 officials in the interior ministry and its linked institutions.
In total, 15,726 people have been dismissed under the latest decrees.
The dismissals are allowed under the state of emergency, which was extended by another three months in October, and was originally imposed in the wake of the coup.
But this has led to criticism from the European Union and human rights groups.
The decrees also ordered the closure of 375 associations, nine provincial press outlets and 19 health institutions.
Critics have claimed that the crackdown goes well beyond the suspected coup plotters and targets anyone who has dared show opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara blames the coup plot on the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen and says an unrelenting campaign is needed to root out his influence from public life. Gulen denies the allegations.
In a separate development on Tuesday, Turkish authorities detained 20 staff at Silivri jail outside Istanbul accused of using the Bylock messaging app that Ankara says was specially developed by Gulen supporters for the coup plot.
Those detained include the head of the prison, named as H.T., it added. Hundreds of suspects rounded up after the coup are being held in the jail.