Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Turkey Purges Teachers as Erdogan Speaks to Obama

Turkey sent the U.S. documents Tuesday that Ankara says show a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania orchestrated last week’s attempted coup, as purges across Turkey broadened dramatically to include thousands of teachers, social workers and religious clerics.

During a phone call Tuesday, President Barack Obama discussed with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey’s demand that the U.S. extradite the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who has been in the U.S. for nearly two decades.

Turkey expanded its crackdown within the country Tuesday to nearly 17,000 teachers and administrators, including university professors and deans. The prime minister’s office fired 257 people and the religious affairs office 442, according to state news agency Anadolu. Nearly 9,000 people have been detained since the foiled coup on Friday night.

The widening hunt for purported supporters of Mr. Gulen extended even to Mr. Erdogan’s top air force adviser, Lt. Col. Erkan Kivrak,who was arrested in southern Turkey and sent to Ankara, state news agency Anadolu reported. It wasn’t clear what charges he was facing.

The government says the putsch attempt resulted in the deaths of 240 civilians, police and military who opposed it. The state news agency on Tuesday issued a new tally of 24 deaths among the insurrectionists, considerably lower than the 104 the government announced on Saturday.

In a sign that the roundup of suspected sympathizers is likely to swell further, police chiefs in Istanbul and Ankara asked Turkish citizens to inform them of any signs of support for the failed coup on the country’s social-media platforms, Anadolu reported.

Nearly 120 generals and admirals have been detained by the security services. The officers accused of being the coup leaders, including former Air Force commander Gen. Akin Ozturk, were charged on Monday in a lengthy court procedure, where he and other officers appeared bruised and bandaged before court in Ankara.

Gen. Ozturk denied being part of the failed coup, according to a summary of a court statement published by the state news agency.

A Turkish official said the education ministry had been a particular target for purges because of suspicions that Mr. Gulen’s supporters were gaining power there. In light of those worries, he said the threshold for evidence was low for ordering firings.

On his call with Mr. Erdogan on Tuesday, Mr. Obama pledged U.S. assistance in Turkey’s investigation into the attempted coup, but stressed to the Turkish leader the need to follow democratic processes in carrying it out, the White House said. - Read More at the WSJ
Turkey Purges Teachers as Erdogan Speaks to Obama - More

US, EU Officials Concerned About Erdogan's Response to Failed Coup


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