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Posts tagged ‘Open Red Coup’

Turkey fires 15,000, shuts 375 NGOs in latest coup purge

By Raziye Akkoc

Ankara (AFP)

Nov 22, 2016

Turkey on Tuesday dismissed over 15,000 state employees and ordered the closure of 375 associations within the state of emergency imposed after the July failed coup, in a purge that shows no sign of slowing.

More than 100,000 people have already been suspended or sacked so far in a crackdown on those alleged to have links to coup-plotters while dozens of media outlets have been shut down.

In the latest government decree published on Tuesday, 7,586 personnel working in the police, including police chiefs and commissioners, were dismissed.

Meanwhile 1,956 soldiers and personnel in the air force and navy were sacked while another 403 were removed from the gendarme, which looks after domestic security.

Thousands more were dismissed in government ministries and state institutions, including nearly 3,000 officials in the interior ministry and related institutions.

In total, 15,726 people have been dismissed under the latest decrees.

The dismissals are permitted under the state of emergency, which was extended by another three months in October, and was originally imposed in the wake of the coup.

But its scope has been vehemently criticized by the European Union and human rights activists.

– ‘Silence critical voices’ –

The decrees, published in the latest issue of the official gazette, also ordered the closure of 375 associations across the country working on issues ranging from rights to culture to women.

Critics have claimed that the crackdown goes well beyond the suspected coup plotters and targets anyone who has dared show opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The closure of nearly 400 NGOs is part of an ongoing and systematic attempt by the Turkish authorities to permanently silence all critical voices,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen.

Amnesty said the groups closed included lawyers associations working on preventing torture, women’s rights groups working against domestic violence and local NGOs helping refugees.

Among those ordered closed is the leading Ankara-based children’s rights NGO Gundem Cocuk (The Agenda is Children).

The decrees also ordered the closure of nine provincial press outlets and 19 health institutions.

Ankara blames the coup plot on the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen and says an unrelenting campaign is needed to root out his influence from public life. Gulen denies the allegations.

Erdogan indicated in a speech on Tuesday that the purges would continue, saying that not all Gulen supporters had been rooted out of Turkish institutions.

“We know that the state has not been entirely cleared of this treacherous network.

“They are still in our armed forces, our police organisations, inside our judiciary, inside different state institutions,” he said.

In a separate development on Tuesday, Turkish authorities detained 20 staff at Silivri jail outside Istanbul accused of using the Bylock messaging app that Ankara says was specially developed by Gulen supporters for the coup plot.

Those detained include the head of the prison, named as H.T., it added. Hundreds of suspects rounded up after the coup are being held in the jail.

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Turkey_fires_15000_shuts_375_NGOs_in_latest_coup_purge_999.html.

Turkish govt shuts down 370 civic groups, raids offices

November 12, 2016

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish opposition groups protested Saturday in Istanbul after the Interior Ministry shut down 370 civic groups on terrorism-related charges — organizations that included professional associations and women’s and children’s rights groups.

The organizations were told about the government decision Friday evening, when police raided their offices and collected their records. The Interior Ministry said 153 of the organizations had alleged ties to the Gulen network, 190 to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, eight to the Islamic State group and 19 to the banned far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C.

Lawyers at the left-wing People’s Law Bureau resisted the raid, and their door was broken down by armed special forces who cleared the offices, detained four lawyers and changed the office’s locks. The four were released Saturday morning.

The Progressive Lawyers’ Association, which was also shut down, said it was not subject to such an order due to legislation protecting lawyers. Nergis Aslan, general secretary for the group, told The Associated Press the Turkish government gave no explanation for the move.

“There is serious suppression against any form of oppositional organization, association or any sort of group. We were expecting it,” she said. Turkey has come under intense criticism from opposition groups and its allies over its crackdown on dissenting voices during the state of emergency declared after the July 15 coup. Close to 37,000 people have been arrested, more than 100,000 people dismissed or suspended from government jobs, and 170 media outlets and scores of businesses and associations have been shut down over alleged ties to terrorist organizations.

Critics note that the purge, initially meant to eliminate the Gulen network that the government accuses of staging the coup, has since been extended to other opponents of the government, including pro-Kurdish and left-wing individuals.

Mehmet Onur Yilmaz of children’s rights organization Gundem Cocuk told the AP they weren’t given a reason either for their shutdown but noted that his group had filed annual reports on child abuse, warning the government of its shortcomings.

“We would like a Turkey where none of that exists of course, but what they want is a Turkey where none of this is visible,” he added. Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus defended the closures Saturday, saying Turkey has to take measures against multiple terror threats.

“Yes, we are in a period of state of emergency, but we are acting within the legal limits afforded us by the state of emergency,” he said, adding that any mistakes would be rectified. In the German city of Cologne, 20,000 protesters marched Saturday against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government’s crackdown on dissent.

Turkey fires over 1,000 soldiers, detains university staff

November 03, 2016

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s Interior Ministry has dismissed 1,218 military personnel from the gendarmerie as part of the investigation into the movement allegedly behind the failed coup in July. In a statement released Thursday, the ministry says 419 officers, 604 non-commissioned officers and 195 other personnel were dismissed Thursday.

The government says the movement of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen was responsible for the coup, which killed over 270 people. The cleric denies any involvement. Authorities have arrested close to 37,000 people and dismissed or suspended more than 100,000 personnel from government jobs in a purge to eradicate the network.

Meanwhile, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported that an unspecified number of Marmara University personnel were detained by police Thursday for using an encryption app allegedly favored by the Gulen movement.

Turkey detains opposition newspaper editor, writers

October 31, 2016

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish police detained the chief editor and at least eight senior staff of Turkey’s opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper on Monday in a continuing crackdown on dissenting voices. Editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, the paper’s lawyer and several columnists were taken into custody following raids at their homes, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Police were searching the homes of other senior staff, including the paper’s cartoonist. In all, police had warrants for the detentions of 16 staff members, the paper said.

The detentions at the left-leaning and pro-secular Cumhuriyet — one of Turkey’s oldest newspapers — come amid accusations by opposition parties and human rights groups that Turkey is using the state of emergency imposed following a failed military coup in July to clamp down not only on the alleged coup plotters but on all government critics.

A statement from the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office said those detained were suspected of “committing crimes” on behalf of the movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen — accused by the government of masterminding the coup attempt — as well as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

The statement said that while those detained are not accused of membership of the Gulen movement or the PKK, there are “claims” and “proof” that shortly before the July 15 coup attempt, the suspects published content that attempted to legitimize the coup. Gulen has denied any involvement in the coup attempt.

Authorities have arrested close to 37,000 people as part of an investigation into the coup and more than 100,000 people have been dismissed or suspended from government jobs in a purge to eradicate Gulen’s network of followers. The government over the weekend issued two new decrees that dismissed some 10,000 additional civil servants and shut down 15 mostly pro-Kurdish media outlets.

Sibel Gunes, general secretary of the Turkish Journalists’ Association, told The Associated Press that some 170 media outlets have been shut down since the attempted coup and 105 journalists have been arrested. In addition, authorities revoked the press accreditation of more than 600 journalists while thousands of journalists have been left unemployed, Gunes said.

Opposition legislators, including Mahmut Tanal of the Republican People’s Party, rushed to Cumhuriyet’s headquarters in a show of solidarity and condemned the “unlawful and completely political” raid.

“This is an operation against the mentality that defends the secular rule of law. It is an operation against citizens’ right to information, right to learn. We will not remain silent,” Tanal said. Cumhuriyet columnist Ayse Yildirim said the detentions could be a prelude toward a government takeover of the newspaper.

“We are not going to hand over Cumhuriyet, we are not going to allow them to assign a trustee. We will hold our heads high and continue our publication without fear,” she said outside of the paper’s Istanbul headquarters.

Cartoonist Musa Kart, who was also wanted for questioning, told reporters outside the building as he left to turn himself into police: “How will they explain this to the world? I am being taken into custody for drawing cartoons.” Kart has been prosecuted in the past for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a cartoon.

Anadolu Agency said authorities had also issued a warrant for the arrest of the paper’s former editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, who was sentenced to five years in prison in May for reports in Cumhuriyet on alleged arms smuggling to Syrian rebels. The verdict is being appealed. Dundar left Turkey after the coup attempt citing a lack of judicial independence and saying he would not receive a fair trial under the circumstances.

Meanwhile, two prominent Kurdish politicians, Gultan Kisanak, the mayor of Turkey’s largest Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir, and co-mayor Firat Anli, were formally put under arrest on Sunday, days after they were taken into custody for questioning on terrorism-related charges. The two are accused of “speaking positively about the terror organization,” referring to the PKK, and allowing the use of municipal vehicles for Kurdish militants’ funerals, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Access to the internet in the region has been periodically blocked since Wednesday — a move which rights activists say is aimed at restricting calls for demonstrations to denounce the mayors’ detentions through social media.

Associated Press writers Cinar Kiper in Istanbul and Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed.

Turkey to release 38,000 from jail; frees space for plotters

August 17, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey issued a decree Wednesday paving the way for the conditional release of 38,000 prisoners, the justice minister said — an apparent move to reduce its prison population to make space for thousands of people who have been arrested as part of an investigation into last month’s failed coup.

The decree allows the release of inmates who have two years or less to serve of their prison terms and makes convicts who have served half of their prison term eligible for parole. Some prisoners are excluded from the measures: people convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse or terrorism and other crimes against the state.

The measures would not apply for crimes committed after July 1, excluding any people later convicted of coup involvement. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on his Twitter account the measure would lead to the release of some 38,000 people. He insisted it was not a pardon or an amnesty but a conditional release of prisoners.

The government says the July 15 coup, which led to at least 270 deaths, was carried out by followers of the movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who have infiltrated the military and other state institutions. Gulen has denied any prior knowledge or involvement in the coup but Turkey is demanding that the United States extradite him.

The Turkish government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on Gulen’s supporters in the aftermath of the coup. Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of them have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.

Tens of thousands more people with suspected links to Gulen have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government. The government crackdown has raised concerns among European nations and human rights organizations, who have urged the Turkish government to show restraint.

Turkish police raid 44 companies in probe into failed coup

August 16, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have launched simultaneous raids on 44 companies suspected of providing financial support to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement.

Turkey accuses Gulen of being behind the July 15 failed coup, a claim Gulen denies. The Anadolu Agency says Tuesday’s raids in Istanbul’s Umraniye and Uskudar districts came after authorities issued warrants to detain 120 company executives as part of the investigation into the coup attempt. The agency did not identify the companies searched.

The government has launched a massive crackdown on suspected supporters of Gulen’s movement. More than 35,000 people have been detained for questioning while tens of thousands of others have been dismissed from government jobs, including in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government.

Police search Istanbul courthouses as part of coup probe

August 15, 2016

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says police teams are conducting operations at three Istanbul courthouses as part of an investigation into the July 15 abortive coup. Anadolu Agency said the Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office had issued a detention order for 173 personnel working at Istanbul’s Caglayan, Bakirkoy and Gaziosmanpasa courthouses.

The moves are part of the government’s ongoing investigation into the movement led by U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. Ankara alleges Gulen was responsible for the violent coup attempt that left over 270 people dead.

Gulen denies any involvement. Police entered the courthouses Monday morning to detain the suspects and conduct searches of their offices and computers, while other teams were searching their homes. Four courthouse personnel were detained last week as part of the same investigation.

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