Turkish gov’t dismisses 38 more diplomats with latest decree over alleged Gülen links

The Turkish government dismissed 38 diplomats including deputy chiefs of mission from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, part of 18,632 public employees who were purged from their posts by a state of emergency government decree announced on Sunday, according to the Official Gazette published on Sunday.

The Turkish government previously dismissed 461 career diplomats at the Foreign Ministry as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, corresponding to 20 percent of career diplomats at the ministry.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu responded to a question submitted by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a deputy of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in April 2018, asking about the number of personnel dismissed from the Foreign Ministry because of their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Çavuşoğlu announced in his written response that 461 career diplomats, or 20 percent of total career diplomats at the ministry, were removed from their jobs due to alleged involvement in “terrorist organisations.” He said with the dismissals of public servants in other categories, the number of fired personnel at the Foreign Ministry has reached 568. He also stated that just four of them have been reinstated to their jobs.

According to information provided by Çavuşoğlu, 288 of the 568 dismissed employees are career diplomats, 173 are consular officers and specialised officers, one is a first legal advisor, one is a legal adviser, nine are deputy experts, one is an internal auditor, 35 are computer operators, three are programmers, one is a lawyer, two are engineers, two are experts, one is a financial expert, one is a civil servant, four are interpreters, one is a technician, one is a nurse, three are drivers, one is a permanent worker and 26 are overseas contract personnel.

Çavuşoğlu also stated that four of the dismissed career diplomats were ambassadors, while 12 employees at the ministry and eight overseas contract personnel were dismissed just because they had an account at private lender Bank Asya, which was closed by the Turkish government under a state of emergency over its affiliation with the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, a total of 296 Turkish diplomats have claimed asylum in Germany since a controversial military coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, according to a report by the Die Welt newspaper on June 23, 2018.

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 about 170,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. 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.

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