Turkish gov’t dismisses over 260 officials with new decree under rule of emergency

Turkish government under the strict rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has dismissed 262 public personnel from various institutions with a new government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

According to a report by state-run Anadolu news agency, the new government decree was published in the Official Gazette on Friday. Under the decree, 48 personnel from the Turkish Armed Forces, including 44 so military officers, were purged.

Among the dismissed, 18, including 16 military officers, were from land forces, and 30 others, including 28 military officers, were from naval forces.

The new decree, which has closed YEK TV and Hatmar FM radio as well, has also reinstated 1,823 people who had been dismissed from their jobs for allegedly using a mobile phone messaging application, ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Among the reinstated, 81 personnel were from Turkish Land Forces, while 20 personnel were from Turkish Naval Forces and 22 others were from the Turkish Air Forces.

Reinstatements came after the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office said on Dec. 27, 2017 that 11,480 GSM number users were found to have been directed to the ByLock app “without their will.”

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Tuesday. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, 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.

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