Turkey fires over 18,000 civil servants for alleged terror links

Turkish authorities dismissed more than 18,000 state employees for alleged ties to terror groups on Sunday, a dramatic extension of mass purges launched after the 2016 failed military coup as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is about begin a new term with vastly expanded executive powers.

An emergency decree published in Turkey’s Official Gazette listed the names, saying they had been “removed from public duty” over their alleged links to organizations that “act against national security.”

The list, which was reviewed during a cabinet meeting convened by Erdogan last month, included nearly 9,000 police officers, over 6,000 military personnel, and about 1,000 employees from the justice ministry.

The decree was released on the eve of a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, during which Erdogan is due to be sworn in for a new five-year mandate following his victory in the June 24 presidential election.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to parliamentarians as he arrives to attend the opening session of the new parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to parliamentarians as he arrives to attend the opening session of the new parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, July 7, 2018. (AP)

With his re-election, Erdogan has gained more executive power over legislation and the judiciary thanks to constitutional changes voters approved last year.

Some government officials have said that with such powers, Erdogan won’t need to extend the “extraordinary rule” that allows for exceptional police measures and governance by decree, and which has been in place since the coup attempt in July 2016.

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