Turkey dismissed 53 deputy and district governors as part of post-coup purge

Presiden Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu

The Turkish Interior Ministry in August dismissed 53 deputy governors and district governors due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, part of a post-coup purge carried out by the government, Turkish media reported.

According to the T24 news website, the dismissals in the ministry are continuing.

In April 37 former district governors who were being held in detention at the Ankara Police Department were reportedly tortured and mistreated. They were detained on April 7 on charges of links to the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.

After an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016, 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.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced in July that 23,364 personnel from the Turkish Armed Forces had been expelled over Gülen links since the coup attempt.

According to the pro-government Sabah daily, when members dismissed from the gendarmerie and the coast guard are included, the total increases to 29,444. The figure does not include 16,409 military cadets who were expelled after the attempt.

According to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 312,121 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said as of February 2021 there were 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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