By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Turkey has issued a decree dismissing more than 18,000 civil servants, half of which were from the police force, over suspected links to groups that “act against national security.”
The July 8 decree shut down 12 associations across the country as well as three newspapers and a television channel.
The move comes ahead of this month’s expected lifting of a two-year-old state of emergency imposed after an attempted coup in July 2016.
The Turkish government has blamed U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the failed coup attempt during which 250 people were killed. Gulen has denied any involvement in the coup.
Turkish authorities have detained tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, journalists, and teachers in a crackdown on alleged Gulen supporters that followed the coup.
Tens of thousands of others have been fired or suspended in the immense purge.
Human rights defenders including Amnesty International have criticized the purges as arbitrary.