Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Monday announced that 16,540 military members have been dismissed as part of a post-coup crackdown, the Turkish media reported.
The judicial and administrative process is ongoing for 6,154 people, Col. Tamer Zincir told reporters at a press conference.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on March 29 said 16,294 soldiers were sacked by the military. Akar previously said the purge was making the Turkish military stronger and more effective. However, Akar admitted on January 1 that a single pilot in the Turkish Air Forces has to carry out assignments that are normally undertaken by five pilots, revealing the heavy toll an unprecedented purge took on the country’s air force.
It was the first public admission by a senior government official of the acute shortage of fighter pilots in the Turkish military in the aftermath of a mass purge of officers from the air force on what observers believe are dubious charges.
Observers also claim that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is deliberately firing pro-NATO officers in the army and pro-EU bureaucrats in the state apparatus and replacing them with those who are anti-Western, pro-Iran and pro-Russia.
Turkey dismissed some 140,000 public servants during a two-year-long state of emergency declared immediately after an abortive putsch in 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)