Turkish Education Minister: 33,065 teachers, staff purged from ministry

Turkish Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said that 33,065 teachers and personnel have been expelled from the education ministry and 43 of them have been returned to their duties since coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Claiming that they have legal grounds for purges through executive decrees, Minister Yılmaz did not give any explanation about what those legal grounds are. “We are not happy about expelling people but this is the only solution. If you do not leave them outside of public [service], you will face incidents like assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey or even worse ones. We expelled 33,065 people to not face such incidents again and to take necessary measures to fulfill our duties to our citizens.”

Turkish media has reported that the murderer of Russia’s Ambassador in Ankara was from a radical Islamist group known with its self-declared closeness to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government.

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

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.

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