The Turkish prime minister says more than 81,000 people have been dismissed or suspended from work over suspected links to US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed mid-July coup.
Binali Yildirim told reporters at Cankaya Palace in the capital, Ankara, on Saturday that a total of 76,597 people have been suspended and another 4,897 dismissed so far in the government’s post-coup crackdown.
He said over 3,000 military personnel, judges and civil servants are among those sacked, adding that Turkish authorities are trying to separate those directly involved in the putsch from those caught up in the mayhem “by chance.”
“We have difficulties in detection,” he said. “What will we do? We have set certain criteria. I think we need to distinguish between the ones who were involved in this organization voluntarily and intentionally and the ones who had some connections with them by chance.”
The Turkish prime minister also criticized Western media outlets for “siding with coup plotters and offering them suggestions.”
“Instead of saying ‘Turkey defeated the coup plotters and democracy won,’ they said ‘They [coup plotters] would have been successful if they hadn’t done this and that,’ discussing the mistakes of those behind the coup,” Yildirim said.
Yildirim further stressed that Ankara will not compromise on its demands concerning Gulen’s extradition, stating that there is no solution but to put him on trial.
Turkish Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz said on Thursday that authorities had revoked the work permits of 27,424 people in the education sector as part of the post-putsch measures.
“These personnel will not be allowed to work in public or private education institutions again,” Yilmaz pointed out.
A faction of the Turkish military declared itself in charge of the country on the night of July 15. Renegade military personnel made use of battle tanks and helicopters to fight loyalists of the incumbent government on Ankara streets and those of the most populous city of Istanbul.
The coup attempt was suppressed as people turned out on the streets to support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries in the coup attempt.
Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in the violence.