Turkey Purge: Government Fires Almost 4,000 More Public Officials
Almost 4,000 public officials have been fired by Turkish government in what appears to be the latest purge related to a failed coup in July 2016.
They include more than 1,000 justice ministry workers, a similar number of army staff and more than 100 air force pilots, officials said.
In a separate decree, TV dating shows were banned – a move previously mooted by the government.
Earlier on April 29, Turkish government blocked access to Wikipedia.
The ban on TV dating shows follows a warning in March by Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus that the programs do not fit in with Turkish traditions and customs.
“There are some strange programs that would scrap the institution of family, take away its nobility and sanctity,” he said at the time.
Critics of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) say they fear Turkey is sliding toward conservative Islam under President Erdogan.
However, AKP supporters say dating shows receive thousands of complaints and the ban is in the public interest.
The block on Wikipedia was detected at about 08:00 on April 29, the Turkey Blocks monitoring group said.
Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority said an “administrative measure” had been taken but did not give details.
According to Turkish media, Wikipedia had been asked to remove content by certain writers whom the authorities accuse of “supporting terror” and of linking Turkey to terror groups.
Wikipedia had not responded to the demands, the daily newspaper Hurriyet said, and the ban was imposed as a result.
A formal court order backing up the provisional order is expected in the coming days.
Responding to the ban, Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales wrote on Twitter: “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”
The latest sackings follow the suspension of more than 9,000 police officers and the arrest of 1,000 more on April 26 on suspicion of having links to the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen of instigating the 2016 coup attempt, a charge the cleric denies.
The government said in its Official Gazette that all those fired were suspected of links to “terrorist organizations and structures presenting a threat to national security”.
President Erdogan narrowly won a controversial April 16 referendum on increasing his powers.
Opponents fear the vote, which has divided Turkey, brings Recep Tayyip Erdogan closer to authoritarian rule.