662 employees expelled from foreign ministry in post-coup purge: minister

Turkey has seen the expulsion of 662 personnel from its foreign ministry as part of a purge launched by the government in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016, according to Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The minister, who was responding to a parliamentary question from an opposition lawmaker about the number of the foreign ministry personnel who were dismissed following the coup, said 662 ministry employees have been removed from public service since July 20, 2016, when the government declared a state of emergency in the country.

Forty-four of the staff members have been fired since the beginning of 2022.

The parliamentary question was raised by Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a prominent human rights activist.

Çavuşoğlu said the purges were carried out in line with emergency decree number 375 which concerns public servants who are determined to have links to terrorist organizations or groups or structures which are, according to the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), involved in activities against national security.

The minister, who did not reveal how many of the purged personnel were career diplomats and how many of them were regular ministry employees, said 35 staff members who had been fired were later reinstated.

According to a ministry activity report, there were 6,984 personnel at the ministry as of Dec. 31, 2021, 1,932 of whom are diplomats.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

Most of the purged public servants had alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the failed coup. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.

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