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  Turkey set for emergency measures

Turkey set for emergency measures

REUTERS/AFP
Published : Jul 21, 2016, 3:18 am IST
Updated : Jul 21, 2016, 3:18 am IST

Turkey will announce emergency measures on Wednesday to try to shore up stability and prevent damage to the economy as it purges thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service a

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AFP)
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AFP)

Turkey will announce emergency measures on Wednesday to try to shore up stability and prevent damage to the economy as it purges thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service and academia after an abortive coup.

Around 50,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended or detained since the military coup attempt, raising tensions across the country of 80 million which borders Syria’s chaos and is a Western ally against Islamic State.

Turkey has suspended 900 police officers in the capital Ankara on suspicion they have links with an Islamic movement headed by a US-based cleric the government says masterminded a failed coup, an official said on condition of anonymity.

Tens of thousands of public-sector employees have been stripped of their responsibilities since a July 15 attempt by a faction within the military to overthrow the government.

Thousands more have been detained and face prosecution. TRT television said 95 academics had been removed from their posts at Istanbul University alone, part of a widening crackdown on suspected supporters of last weekend’s failed military coup.

The move comes shortly after a government official announced a temporary ban on academics travelling abroad due to the risk that supporters of the abortive coup may try to flee the country.

On Tuesday the high education board ordered the resignation of 1,577 deans at both state and private universities in Turkey. Deans are in charge of faculties while rectors run the universities.

“Universities have always been crucial for military juntas in Turkey and certain individuals are believed to be in contact with cells within the military,” the official said.

President Tayyip Erdogan blames the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for Friday night’s attempted coup, in which more than 230 people were killed as soldiers commandeered fighters jets, military helicopters and tanks to try to overthrow the government.

Mr Erdogan has vowed to clean the “virus” responsible for the plot from all state institutions.

The depth and scale of the purges have raised concern among Western allies that Mr Erdogan is trying to suppress all dissent, and that opponents unconnected with the plot will be caught in the net.

He will chair meetings in his palace on Wednesday of the Cabinet and the National Security Council, after which a series of emergency measures are expected to be announced.

In a sign of how shaken Turkey’s leadership has been by the coup attempt, with dozens of generals arrested as well as Mr Erdogan’s aide de camp, government ministers and top official shave not been briefed in advance of the meetings.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, plan to meet in Russia in early August.

“A meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Erdogan is being prepared and worked out. They agreed that the meeting will be in the first 10 days of August,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

“It will be in Russia, but the city and the date are still being firmed up,” Mr Peskov said.

This will be the leaders’ first face-to-face meeting since late June when Russia said Mr Erdogan apologised for Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter jet in November last year.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul