Erdogan has fired 18 000 civil servants on charges of terrorism

Erdogan has fired 18 000 civil servants on charges of terrorism

Erdogan has fired 18 000 civil servants on charges of terrorism

Turkey has issued a decree dismissing more than 18,000 civil servants, half of which were from the police force, over suspected links to groups that "act against national security".

Turkey accuses US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the attempted coup.

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

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Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 7 that restrictions imposed on the passports of 181,500 people in the wake of the July 2016 coup attempt will be lifted within a few days.

The list, which was reviewed during a cabinet meeting convened by Erdogan last month, included almost 9,000 police officers, over 6,000 military personnel, and about 1,000 employees from the justice ministry.

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.

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Another 1,052 civil servants from the justice ministry and linked institutions have been fired as well as 649 from the gendarmerie and 192 from the coast guard.

In addition, the decree states that 148 people, fired by previous decrees, are reinstated in the public administration.

Critics say Mr Erdogan is using the extra powers permitted under emergency rule to target opponents, while human rights defenders have said the purges are arbitrary.

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Since the coup attempt, some 50,000 people, including dozens of journalists, were arrested in a massive crackdown on alleged Gulen supporters. At least three newspapers, a television channel and several associations also shut down.

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