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Turkey Fires 15,000 More as Part of Failed Coup Probe

  • VOA News

Turkey's President addresses police officers in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 22, 2016. Turkey's government on Tuesday dismissed an additional 15,000 people from the military, police and the civil service as part of an ongoing investigation into the failed military coup in July.

Turkey's President addresses police officers in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 22, 2016. Turkey's government on Tuesday dismissed an additional 15,000 people from the military, police and the civil service as part of an ongoing investigation into the failed military coup in July.

The Turkish government eliminated about 15,000 employees from the military, police and the civil service on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the failed coup attempt.

The government also closed more than 500 institutions, nine news outlet, and 19 health establishments.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to bring to justice and punish those involved in the coup attempt. He has accused U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the failed attempt to overturn the government.

FILE - U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pa., July 29, 2016.

FILE - U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pa., July 29, 2016.

Gulen, a former Erdogan ally in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has repeatedly denied involvement.

Since the coup, Erdogan launched a large-scale crackdown on Gulen’s followers and institutions that pursue his movement. Authorities have arrested at least 36,000 people and removed more than 100,000 others from government jobs.

“We know that the state is not fully cleared of this treacherous gang. They are still within the armed forces. They are still within the police. They are still within the judiciary and they are still within the various sections of the state,'' Erdogan said.

“We won't allow them to destroy this country nor to crush the people. We will do whatever is necessary,” he added.

The government is also accused of abusing powers — from a state of emergency declaration after the coup to repressing anyone who criticizes the government.

People pass by an effigy of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, with Turkish words that read: "the traitor, FETO " (Feto is the nickname of Fethullah Gulen) in Ankara, Turkey, July 21, 2016.

People pass by an effigy of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, with Turkish words that read: "the traitor, FETO " (Feto is the nickname of Fethullah Gulen) in Ankara, Turkey, July 21, 2016.

Erdogan defended the actions, saying Gulen’s followers have been active in Turkey for more than 40 years and have infiltrated the Turkish armed forces, the police, the judiciary and all ministries. He added that around 250 people were killed on the night of the July 15 failed coup.

Erdogan reiterated that he wants to dismantle what he called the FETO terrorist organization.

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