Deputy PM: 111,240 civil servants dismissed since coup attempt

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has announced that 111,240 civil servants have been dismissed from their jobs since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Kurtulmuş, who made a statement at a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group meeting in the Turkish Parliament on Monday, said 111,240 civil servants were dismissed under 26 government decrees while 33,180 others were suspended. As a result of objections made to a state of emergency commission, 35,639 civil servants were reinstated to their jobs, added Kurtulmuş.

The state of emergency (OHAL) was declared immediately after the coup attempt last year. Turkish government accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of mounting the coup, a claim the movement strongly denies.

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. A recent government decree that went into effect on Friday dismissed a total of 7,348 people, including 302 academics, from state institutions.

Referring to the economic sanctions on businesses affiliated with the Gülen movement, Kurtulmuş said 966 companies and their 4,888 properties have been seized and transferred to Turkey’s state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF).

A court has appointed Uşak Governor Salim Demir as trustee for 29 companies that were transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) due to their owners’ alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement. According to a Tuesday story on the T24 website, Demir was appointed as trustee to manage 10 joint-stock companies, 18 limited liability companies and a separate commercial enterprise.

Speaking to the Doğan news agency on Tuesday, Demir said: “The deputy prime minister’s office appointed me as trustee for 29 seized companies. The decision will be published in business papers tomorrow. We will await the court decisions to finalize the situations of the companies. We will handle the situation. The companies will continue to operate in their areas.”

Thousands of companies, business associations and media outlets, including newspapers and TV and radio stations established by people who are sympathetic to the Gülen movement, were seized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after a graft probe was revealed in 2013 implicating people from the inner circles of then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The AKP and Erdoğan accused police officers and members of the judiciary who carried out the investigation of plotting against the government and launched a widespread witch-hunt against followers of the movement.

Meanwhile, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants on Tuesday for 39 former and one active Interior Ministry staff members over the use of a smart phone application known as ByLock. The detention warrants were issued for a total of 40 people, 39 of whom were either dismissed or suspended from their positions at the Interior Ministry under government decrees, as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement.

Moreover, O.K., a teacher who was previously purged from his job by a government decree after a failed coup in 2016, was detained on Tuesday when he visited a state of emergency bureau to object to his dismissal. According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, O.K. was detained as part of an investigation into Gülen movement followers in Trabzon while he was submitting an objection to the state of emergency bureau at the Trabzon Governor’s Office. Anadolu said there was an outstanding detention warrant for O.K. over accusations of using ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen follower as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the group. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

Also, on Tuesday, Turkish police detained two university students for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” in Erzurum province’s Yakutiye district, the t24 news website has reported. According to the report, students from Atatürk University were detained by the anti-terror police while leaving a supermarket on the university campus. In their testimonies, the students reportedly said they bought the T-shirts from a store in the city and that they had not heard anything about Gökhan Güçlü.

Güçlü is one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 15, 2016. He was thrown out of the courtroom last Thursday for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” because it caused tension between the parties during the hearing.

According to the private İhlas news agency, the textile firm that manufactures the “hero” T-shirts stopped production after discussions with the police. The T-shirts were withdrawn from sale in stores and online, İhlas said.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic 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.

As part the government witch-hunt against the movement, more than 146,000 people lost their jobs, some 169,013 faced legal proceedings that left over 125,000 detained and over 55,000 in pre-trial arrest and at least 520 children are accompanying their parents in jail, a report by said. (SCF with July 18,  2017

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