Turkey Purges 18,600 Civil Servants As Erdogan Prepares For A New Term

Some 18,632 people have been sacked including 8,998 police officers 3,077 army soldiers

Some 18,632 people have been sacked including 8,998 police officers 3,077 army soldiers

More than 18,000 civil servants, including police officers, academics and military staff, in Turkey are to be dismissed, according to a 461-page decree issued on Sunday.

The Turkish government blames US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., has denied any involvement in the coup, in which more than 200 people were killed.

Thousands of state employees were dismissed in Turkey under an emergency decree for allegedly threatening national security.

The decree is expected to be the last of a series of emergency laws as Turkey's ruling system will fully transform into an executive presidency Monday, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sworn in once again following his victory in last month's elections.

Human rights defenders including Amnesty International have criticized the purges as arbitrary. Erdogan has hinted it may be lifted.

The detentions show no sign of slowing after hundreds of people, including soldiers, were taken into custody last week over alleged Gulen links.

In Turkey's Ground Forces, 3,077 officers have been dismissed, while in Navy the number was 1,126 and in Air Force, 1,949 officers and non-commissioned officers have been sacked.

In the western coastal province of Izmir, arrest warrants were issued for 75 soldiers, of whom 59 were now serving, Anadolu said, adding that raids were still under way.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union and the United States.

Twelve non-governmental organizations, three newspapers and one television station were also shuttered through the 461-page ruling.

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