October 22, 2016

Turkey coup: 15,200 education staff suspended

A religious school in Istanbul – education staff have been purged after the coup, along with the army and the judiciary

More than 15,000 education staff in Turkey have been suspended after last week’s failed coup, as a purge of state officials widens still further.

The Ministry of Education accused them of links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric the Turkish government says was behind Friday’s uprising.

Mr Gulen denies any involvement with the coup attempt .

Turkey’s High Education board has also ordered the resignation of over 1,500 university deans, state media reported.

It comes after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim vowed to take action against Mr Gulen’s supporters.

“I’m sorry but this parallel terrorist organisation will no longer be an effective pawn for any country,” Mr Yildirim said, according to Reuters.

“We will dig them up by their roots so that no clandestine terrorist organisation will have the nerve to betray our blessed people again.”

Thousands of soldiers, police and officials have been detained or sacked since Friday’s coup attempt.

More than two dozen generals, including former air force chief Gen Akin Ozturk, have been remanded in custody pending the setting of trial dates. Gen Ozturk denies any involvement.

Meanwhile, the UN urged Turkey to uphold the rule of law and defend human rights in its response to the attempted coup.

In a statement, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the mass suspension or removal of judges was “cause for serious alarm”. He expressed “deep regret” at suggestions the death penalty could be reinstated.

According to official figures from the prime minister’s office, Friday night’s coup attempt left 232 people dead and 1,541 wounded.

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