Over 18,500 Turkish public workers dismissed with new emergency state decree

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The government ordered the dismissal of more than 18,500 state employees including police officers, soldiers and academics, in a state of emergency decree published on July 8.

The Official Gazette stated that 18,632 people had been sacked including 8,998 police officers over suspected links to terror organizations and groups “acting against national security.”

It also said 148 others who had earlier been dismissed from public institutions and organizations were reinstated.

Some 3,077 army soldiers were also dismissed, as well as 1,949 air force personnel and 1,126 from the naval forces.

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.

The authorities also fired 199 academics, according to the new decree, while 148 state employees from the military and ministries were reinstated.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since shortly after the July 2016 coup attempt.

The Turkish media dubbed the decree as the “last” one, with officials indicating the state of emergency could end as early as July 9.

The emergency has been renewed seven times and the latest period is officially due to end on July 19.

Over 110,000 public sector employees have been removed previously from their jobs via emergency decrees since July 2016, while tens of thousands more have been suspended.

Turkey accuses U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and what the authorities call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) of orchestrating the attempted coup.

The July 8 decree shut down 12 associations across the country as well as three newspapers and a television channel.

Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the sweeping nature of the dismissals, including of many individuals not involved in the coup attempt, but Ankara says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.

Passport ban for 181,500 people to be lifted soon: Erdoğan

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.

“A passport restriction was put in place for partners, children, and parents of a fraction of people who were arrested and convicted within the context of the struggle against FETÖ. After July 15 [2016], FETÖ members had started to run away to abroad with their families. One of the measures to prevent this was a restriction on passports,” Erdoğan said in a meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament.

“But as the investigations and cases came to a point, restrictions imposed on the passports of 181,500 people will be lifted in a couple of days. This way we are relieve the unjust treatment towards our citizens who could not get a passport due to the crime of their relatives,” he said.