Turkey has dismissed almost 7,400 civil servants for alleged links to terror groups in a government decree, the latest in a wave of dismissals since authorities quashed a coup attempt last summer.
Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu who was jailed last August for alleged links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey blames Gulen for masterminding the July 15 coup attempt but he denies the allegations. The country imposed a state of emergency following the coup, allowing the government to rule by decrees. The latest wave of dismissals brings the number of fired civil servants to more than 110,000 people.
Turkish authorities pinned the blame for the coup attempt on Gulen almost immediately after last year’s dramatic events. No hard evidence of his involvement has been presented, however, while Gulen himself has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Ankara launched a massive crackdown on alleged coup supporters as well as opposition figures and journalists in the aftermath of the attempted coup. Over 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 150,000 civil servants, police officers and soldiers have been dismissed.
Evidence claiming that the coup attempt was “controlled” by Ankara in a bid to set a pretext for Erdogan to get rid of his opponents took hold after the failed coup, but this assertion has been vehemently denied and rejected. “That was not a controlled coup attempt, but it was coup attempt which was averted by the Turkish people,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters Friday as quoted by Sputnik.
He added, “our aim is to find those who have links with this [Fethullah Gulen] organization and is supporting this organization. We are trying to purge those. We do not want to make any unfair treatment.”
In the aftermath of the coup, Erdogan criticized the somewhat muted reaction of his Western allies.
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg used the coup’s anniversary as an opportunity to remind Ankara that he had promptly condemned the coup and expressed solidarity with Turkey.
“Democracy and rule of law are shared values of NATO Allies. On the first anniversary of the coup attempt in Turkey I reiterate my strong message that any attempt to undermine democracy in any of our Allied countries is unacceptable,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
More than 240 people were killed and over 2,000 injured in the failed coup attempt according to official data.
Erdogan will Make Turkey an Islamic State
An RT Documentary crew filming in northern Syria has seen Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL) documents abandoned by retreating terrorists and found by the Kurds that, along with captured IS recruits, provide a stunning insight into the ISIS oil trade.
Only ten days after the town of Shaddadi in Syrian Kurdistan was liberated from the ISIS militants, an RT Doc film crew followed Kurdish soldiers around houses that had been abandoned in haste by fleeing jihadists. There, they found documents shedding light on the ISIS oil trade, jihadist passports with Turkish entry stamps, an instruction booklet – printed in Turkey – on how to wage war against the Syrian government, and more.
The areas surrounding Shaddadi has large natural oil reserves, and until recently, ISIS militants profited from it, forcing members of the local population to work in their oil industry. Piles of detailed invoices used by ISIS to calculate daily revenues from selling oil were found on the site. Local residents attested that intermediaries from Raqqa and Aleppo arrived to pick up the oil and often mentioned Turkey, while a captured ISIS recruit admitted on camera that the terrorist group sells oil to Turkey. He and another foreign fighter from Saudi Arabia also revealed that it had been easy to cross the Turkish border.
The documentary contains exclusive footage from towns liberated from ISIS, and features interviews with locals who had worked on ISIS oil refineries as well as testimonies from the ISIS members captured by Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) soldiers. Discover what RT Doc crew found in oil-rich areas that were under ISIS occupation only days ago.
Captured ISIS fighters admit that coming through Turkey was easy. The fighters believe this to be the case due to the fact that it has a common enemy with ISIS, the YPG (People’s Protection Unit). The YPG is yet another rebel group fighting in the Syrian civil war, and Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who call for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. The fighter alleges that Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan wants ISIS to control Syria in order to grow the oil trade.
Turkey’s Western allies have expressed solidarity with the government over the coup attempt but have also voiced increasing alarm at the scale and swiftness of the response, urging it to adhere to democratic values.