BBC: Numbers behind Turkey’s state of emergency crackdown speak for themselves

Almost two years after a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial and more than 107,000 have been removed from public sector jobs in the country’s ongoing state of emergency (OHAL), according to a report written by Chris Morris for BBC.

As Turkey heads to presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has used emergency powers to close down many independent media in the last two years, and most television coverage of the election focuses on Turkey’s strongman and his party, reported BBC.

While pointing out that there have also been a large number of dismissals in the private sector, the article explains that precise numbers are hard to come by. According to the report, many, but not all of those dismissed are alleged members of the Gülen movement. Among those dismissed by government decrees since the coup attempt are soldiers and police officers, judges and prosecutors, doctors and teachers, the article explains.

“I’ve been a teacher for 15 years,” Morris quotes one young professional as saying. “My place is in my classroom. I should be able to go back to my school. I should be able to get my job back.”

The Turkish government has faced pressure from the Council of Europe (CoE), which monitors human rights, and has set up a commission to look at individual cases. While over 100,000 people have appealed to the commission, the government says it has reviewed 19,600 cases so far, and of those 1,010 people have been granted permission to return to work.

Opposition presidential candidates are very vocal that if elected, they will end the state of emergency, which has been extended seven times so far. While Erdoğan previously insisted that the state of emergency will remain in place, he has recently changed his tune, suggesting that he, too, will lift the state of emergency if re-elected.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with Ahval)

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