A large poster of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen on a main street on October 25, 2016 in Rize Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images
Turkey’s purges continue: More than 100,000 public servants now sacked or suspended
Turkish President Erdogan’s purges of anyone he sees as a threat continue at a pace. He has recently fired a further 10,131 public employees, bringing the total number of public sector workers dismissed or suspended since the failed 15 July military coup to more than 100,000. The dismissals, across 35 different government ministries and agencies, were mainly in the health, education and justice departments.
It is feared that new recruitments may be arbitrary, not based on objective criteria, in education institutions where most dismissals have occurred so far. Those fired are barred from future employment in the public sector. 15 more media outlets have been closed by the authorities and almost 100 journalists are now in prison.
The sackings are linked with the announcement of two further decrees under state of emergency provisions adopted by Turkey’s Council of Ministers following the coup attempt. A total of ten decrees have now been passed, many with permanent consequences for the country’s politics, economics and society.
The authorities have also blocked social media sites and VPN internet connections. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” over the internet between your computer, smartphone or tablet and whatever website or app you are trying to access. This is made possible by redirecting your connection via a VPN server in another country, which makes it appear to a website or application that you are just another ‘local’ visitor. Banning this technology raises fears of monitoring and people’s right to privacy.
Last week 11 members of the opposition HDP party were detained, after the immunity of more than 130 democratically elected Members of Parliament was lifted in May this year. The HDP being a pro-Kurdish and minorities party. The HDP has responded by announcing a suspension of its parliamentary work.