ANKARA. — The Turkish government yesterday ordered the sacking of more than 2 700 people working in public institutions over alleged links to “terror” groups, in the latest round of purges since last year’s failed coup.
In a separate emergency decree, the country’s defence procurement agency was ordered to answer to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan instead of the defence ministry, in a move widely viewed as a further expansion of his powers.
Turkey’s intelligence service (MIT) also came under Erdogan’s control in August.
A total of 2,756 people including academics, soldiers and military personal were removed from different bodies including the interior, foreign and defence ministries, according to the Official Gazette.
All those dismissed were either members of “terror” organisations or had links to structures which were acting against national security, it said.
17 Turkish institutions were also ordered to close, including two newspapers and seven associations.
More than 140,000 people including judges, lawyers and academics have been sacked or suspended since a failed coup in July last year, while some 55,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and the coup attempt.
Turkey claims Gulen and his Hizmet (service) movement, which it calls the “Fethullah Terrorist Organisation”, ordered and conducted the attempted coup.
Gulen, who’s lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any links to terrorism and the failed putsch. Erdogan, who has also accused Gulen and his followers of infiltrating state institutions, has said the sackings were necessary to remove what he called the “virus” of Gulen’s influence from state bodies.
Critics accuse the government of using state of emergency legislation to target its opponents, including opposition journalists and pro-Kurdish critics. — AFP.