Turkey, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to govern under an indefinite state of emergency which allows him to rule by decree, on May 24 issued more arrest warrants for people allegedly connected to exiled US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Authorities ordered the arrest of 60 staff at the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and 79 people at 19 district councils, claiming links to the cleric said to have masterminded last year’s attempted coup, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Another 60 arrest warrants have been issued for 60 former employees of the education ministry and development ministry, according to the newspaper.
In a speech delivered last week at a ceremony marking his return to the helm of the ruling AKP, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who was unable to lead the AKP under Turkish law until constitutional changes were officially narrowly voted through by the April 16 referendum on introducing a powerful executive presidency - vowed to continue the fight against all terror groups. He added that the state of emergency, declared after the coup was foiled, would remain in place until Turkey achieved "welfare and peace".
On May 23, dozens of employees of the capital markets board (SPK) and the national telecommunications watchdog (BTK) were arrested over alleged links to Gulen, who on May 16 in an article for the Washington Post prior to Erdogan’s visit to the White House strenuously denied any involvement in the coup and called on the West to “help Turkey return to a democratic path”.
Since the failed coup, purges have seen 120,000 people, including military personnel, judges, academics, journalists, police officers, teachers and civil servants dismissed from public duty, while some 48,000 people have been arrested. The government has also seized 800 companies with a value of around $10bn which it claims are affiliated with Gulen.
The dismissals of tens of thousands of state employees do not appear to have much impacted public services, probably because state institutions were unreasonably overstaffed. The government plans to recruit 90,000 new personnel this year, Hurriyet reported in April.
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