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Turkey fires 24,000 teachers, police in coup plotters hunt

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Istanbul: The Turkish government today escalated its wide-ranging crackdown against people it claims have ties to the alleged coup plotters, firing nearly 24,000 teachers and Interior Ministry employees across the country and demanding the resignations of another 1,577 university deans.

The dismissals touched every aspect of government life. Turkish media, in rapid-fire reports, said the Ministry of
Education fired 15,200 people across the country, the Interior Ministry fired 8,777 employees and Turkey’s Board of Higher Education requested the deans’ resignations.

In addition, 257 people working at the office of the prime minister were dismissed and the Directorate of Religious Affairs announced it had sacked 492 staff including clerics, preachers and religious teachers.

Today’s firings come on top of the roughly 9,000 people who have been detained by the government, including security personnel, judges, prosecutors, religious figures and others.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency says courts have ordered 85 generals and admirals jailed pending trial over their roles in the coup attempt. Dozens of others were still being questioned.

The violence surrounding the Friday night coup attempt claimed the lives of 208 government supporters and 24 coup plotters, according to the government. Turkey says Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, was behind the coup and has demanded his extradition. Gulen has denied any knowledge of the failed coup.

In a bid to calm markets roiled by the coup attempt, Turkey’s central bank cut a key interest rate Tuesday to shore up liquidity in the economy. The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee said it has reduced its overnight marginal funding rate from 9 per cent to 8.75 per cent.

Anadolu Agency said Tuesday those formally arrested include former air force commander Gen. Akin Ozturk, alleged to be the ringleader of the July 15 uprising, and Gen. Adem Hududi, commander of Turkey’s 2nd Army, which is in charge of countering possible threats to Turkey from Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Ozturk has denied the allegation, saying he neither planned nor directed the failed military coup, according to the Anadolu Agency.

The agency said Erdogan’s Air Force adviser, Lt. Col. Erkan Kivrak, had been detained at a hotel where he was vacationing in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya. No reason was given for the detention.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, made a series of televised appearances in which he disclosed dramatic details of his survival on the night of a failed coup and raised the specter of reintroducing the death penalty to punish conspirators.

PTI

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