Turkey Expels 3,900 Officials

Turkey has expelled 3,900 people as threats to national security.

This is the second major purge since President Tayyip Erdogan was granted sweeping new powers.

The expulsions, which took place Saturday, affected diverse groups.  Clerks, academics, and employees of the religious affairs directorate. Along with prison guards and 1,200 members of the armed forces. Nearly half that number were officers.

They were fired for suspected links to “terrorist organizations and structures presenting a threat to national security”. This according to a decree in the Official Gazette.

Last Wednesday, more than 9,000 police were suspended and another 1,000 detained. The people were allegedly linked to the network of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Ankara blames Gulen for coup attempt last year. Gulen has denied all involvement.

In all, some 120,000 people have been suspended or fired from their jobs. More than 40,000 have been arrested in the aftermath of the failed coup, which killed 240 people, mostly civilians.

These mass detentions were initially supported by many Turks. Especially those who supported Erdogan in blaming Gulen. Now, criticism is mounting as the arrests widened. Relatives of those detained or sacked deny their involvement and are calling the people victims of a purge.

Human rights groups and world leaders have long questioned Erdogan’s commitment to democracy. As situations such as these continue, more people are becoming convinced the President is simply morphing his country’s government into a dictatorship.

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