Turkey purges more workers ahead of Erdogan swearing-in

Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses parliament, 7 July 2018Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for 15 years

Turkey has sacked another 18,000 state workers, in the latest purge triggered by a failed coup two years ago.

Those dismissed include soldiers, police and academics. A TV channel and three newspapers have also been closed.

Since the coup attempt the government has fired more than 125,000 people, introduced emergency rule and clamped down on the media and the opposition.

The move comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to be sworn in with sweeping new powers on Monday.

He has promised to lift the state of emergency. Correspondents say the purge announced on Sunday could be the last before he does so.

Last month President Erdogan was re-elected with 53% of the vote. He has presided over a strong economy and built up a solid support base.

But he has also polarised opinion, cracking down on opponents and putting some 160,000 people in jail.

Media captionPresident Erdogan thanked voters after his victory

Under controversial constitutional changes approved by a referendum last year, parliament has been weakened and the post of prime minister abolished.

The president will be able to appoint to ministers and vice-presidents and intervene in the legal system.

One-man rule?

Mr Erdogan says his increased authority will empower him to address Turkey’s economic woes and defeat Kurdish rebels in the country’s south-east.

His Islamist-rooted AKP party also controls parliament.

The defeated opposition candidate in the presidential election, Muharrem Ince, said Turkey was now entering a dangerous period of “one-man rule”.

Turkey’s Western allies have accused the president of using the July 2016 coup as an excuse to crack down on dissent.

The government blames the attempt on US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies involvement.

Officials say Gulen-supporters have infiltrated government institutions at every level and set up terrorist cells.

Turkey purges more workers ahead of Erdogan swearing-in

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