Is there anyone left running the country?
Turkey fired 15,000 state employees, including soldiers, police officers, tax inspectors, and midwives in the latest round of purges since the failed coup of July 15.
Tuesday’s dismissals — which cut across several news outlets and 375 institutions — brings the total number of people fired or suspended in the wake of the coup to 125,000. Of these some 36,000 are awaiting trial in jail, Reuters reports.
And there are more mass purges to come.
“We know they have not been completely cleansed. They are still present in our military, in our police force, in our judiciary,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a conference on policing, referring to the network of supposed followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen that have allegedly infiltrated public institutions.
“We will not leave our country to them, we will not let them consume this nation. We will do whatever is necessary,” Erdogan said.
Gulen is accused of orchestrating July’s attempted coup — a charge he denies — and Turkey’s Official Gazette routinely announces the dismissal of countless professionals allegedly linked to him.
But human-rights groups accuse Erdogan of using the coup as a premise to instigate a “witch hunt” to crush dissent. European allies have also criticized the breadth and severity of his clampdown. On Tuesday, lawmakers at the European Parliament called for a halt on Turkey’s E.U. membership talks.
Here’s a time line of some of the purges that have taken place since the attempted coup, which took place on July 15, leaving 200 people dead.
July 19: According to Turkish media, the Education Ministry fires 15,200 educators; the Interior Ministry sacks 8,777 employees; and the Board of Higher Education calls for the resignations university deans. The Finance Ministry fires 1,500 employees; the Prime Minister’s Office sacks 257; and 492 staffers at the Directorate of Religious Affairs are shown the door. The government also arrests 9,000 security personnel, judges, prosecutors, religious figures and others. A total of 85 generals and admirals are also jailed.
July 27: Erdogan orders the shuttering of 131 media organizations and at issues arrest warrants for at least 89 journalists and other media personnel with alleged links to the coup plot.
Aug. 2: By now, Turkey has also fired almost 9,000 police officers — the equivalent to firing every cop in Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, Boston and Baltimore — and detained about 10,000 soldiers. Some 2,745 members of the judiciary have also been placed on suspension, the New York Times reports.
Aug. 5: At Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (Tubitak), 167 staff are dismissed. The total number of people dismissed, detained, or placed under investigation now exceeds 60,000.
Aug. 17: Turkey begins freeing 38,000 prisoners after announcing penal reforms to make space for the tens of thousands of suspects detained following the coup.
Sept. 1: Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reports that a further 820 military personnel and over 500 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed.
Sept. 19: Around 28,000 more teachers get the ax over alleged links to terrorism — many are Kurds with supposed links to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). This brings the total number affected by the crackdown to around 100,000.
Nov. 17: Pakistan expels more than 100 Turkish teachers from 28 international schools ahead of Erdogan’s visit and in response to Turkish claims that they are linked to Gulen.