Turkey Fires 8,000 Civil Servants for Alleged Terror LinksTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Istanbul (AP) -- Turkey has dismissed more than 8,000 civil servants for alleged ties to terror organizations, in the latest purge under a state of emergency imposed following the failed July 15 coup attempt.
The latest dismissals were announced on the Turkish government's Official Gazette late Friday. They include 2,687 police officers, 1,699 Justice Ministry employees and 631 academics. They join more than 100,000 people already suspended or dismissed from their jobs.
Turkey's crackdown through dismissals and the arrest of some 41,000 people was begun to root out followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The government claims he orchestrated the coup attempt that killed nearly 270 people; Gulen denies involvement.
The purge has been expanded to include ties to other "terror organizations," including alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party or the PKK. The PKK has been waging a three-decade-long insurgency and is considered a terror organization by Turkey and its allies, including the U.S.
In November, nine parliamentarians from the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, including its co-presidents, were arrested for alleged ties to the PKK. The HDP denies the accusation and critics see the arrests as a means to silence the opposition.
Eleven local newspapers were allowed to reopen under Friday's decree. Nearly 140 media organizations have been ordered closed since the failed coup.
According to P24, a press freedom initiative for independent journalism, 115 journalists have been imprisoned under the state of emergency, including the most recent arrest of investigative journalist and government critic Ahmet Sik. The organization says the total number of journalists in Turkish prisons has reached 145.