MİT asks YÖK to dismiss 910 more academics from universities

İstanbul University.

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has sent a list of 910 academics to the Higher Education Board (YÖK), who should be dismissed from universities over their alleged use of ByLock, a smart phone application which is considered by the Turkish authorities as the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers, academics and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock. Yet, critics blast the government for punishing thousands simply for using a mobile application with the movement’s involvement in the attempt still remains unclear.

MİT has recently submitted a list of names and mobile phone numbers of 122,000 people who are claimed to be using ByLock, to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution. According to pro-government Vatan newspaper, the wider list included 910 academics as well and MİT sent the list of those implicated to YÖK for dismissal.

At least 7,316 academics have already lost their jobs since July 15, 2016 either after being dismissed from their positions or after the government shuttered their universities.


Meanwhile, two deputy governors at the Yozgat Governor’s Office have been removed from their posts on the grounds that they had links to the faith-based Gülen movement. A statement released by the Yozgat Governor’s Office said on Monday that deputy governors E.E. and D.E. have been removed from their posts due to an investigation launched against them for being linked to the Gülen movement.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention. Also, a total of 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links. (SCF with March 6, 2017

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