Turkey fires 7000 in dissident crackdown

Turkey has dismissed more than 7000 police, ministry staff and academics, ahead of the one-year anniversary of an attempted coup.

It comes as part of a major purge of state institutions, including the judiciary, police and education, in response to last year's unrest.

On Saturday, Turkey marks one year since rogue soldiers bombed buildings and opened fire on civilians.

More than 250 people were killed in the violence.

The Turkish authorities accuse a movement loyal to the Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of organising the July 2016 plot to bring down President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Gulen, who remains in the United States, denies any involvement. Washington has so far resisted calls from the Turkish authorities to extradite the cleric.

The latest dismissals came in a decree from 5 June but only published by the official government Gazette on Friday.

It says the employees are people "who it's been determined have been acting against the security of the state or are members of a terrorist organisation".

Among those listed were 2303 police officers and 302 university academics. Another 342 retired officers and soldiers were stripped of their ranks and grades, Reuters reports.

Turkey has already dismissed more than 150,000 officials since the coup attempt, and arrested another 50,000 from the military, police and other sectors.

The government says the measures are necessary given the security threats it faces but critics say Mr Erdogan is using the purges to stifle political dissent.

Istanbul is awash with giant anniversary billboards and posters showing people confronting pro-coup soldiers.

Huge rallies are due to take place, with President Erdogan, who avoided capture last year, addressing parliament at the exact time that it was bombed.

He and his supporters see the defeat of the coup as Turkey's rebirth, but for others it's less triumphant, says the BBC's Mark Lowen.


Photo: AFP A woman takes a selfie picture with her mobile phone next to the statue of Omer Halisdemir, displayed on July 14, 2017 in Istanbul, in front of a memorial with the names of people killed last year during the failed coup attempt a year before.