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Turkey purges gendarmerie over alleged Gulen ties

November 3, 2016

The Interior Ministry in Turkey has fired over 1,200 soldiers serving in the gendarmerie, citing investigations into the failed coup. Over 100,000 people were suspended or sacked from state jobs since the unrest.

Türkei Putschversuch Armee
Image: picture alliance/ZUMA Press/Saltanat

Ankara continued the months-long purge of anyone with alleged ties to the Gulen movement on Thursday, with the Interior Ministry saying they had dismissed 418 officers, 604 non-commissioned officers and 195 other military personnel from the gendarmerie.

On the same day, the police detained a number of Marmara University staff, state news wire Anadolu Agency reported. The group was arrested for using an encryption key allegedly favored by the supporters of cleric Fetullah Gulen, who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed for the deadly attempted coup in July.

The US-based preacher has denounced the coup and denied any involvement.

After the power grab that claimed the lives of over 270 people, the Turkish regime has launched an unprecedented crackdown on the Gulen movement while also escalating the push against the alleged Kurd militia sympathizers. Some 100,000 people have been fired or suspended from state jobs since July, including police officers, judges, soldiers, medical workers, academics and teachers. 

Earlier this week, Ankara suspended over 12,000 teachers and academics for alleged links to the Kurdish PKK and arrested over a dozen employees of the opposition "Cumhuriyet" in Istanbul. Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan, currently in jail for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party, appealed to European leaders to support human rights and denounce the crackdown in Turkey.

The purge sparked criticism from Turkey's international partners in the West, but Ankara has remained largely unfazed by the outrage.

dj/sms (AP, Reuters)