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  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reviews an honor guard at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey Feb.  08, 2017

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reviews an honor guard at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey Feb. 08, 2017 | Photo: Reuters

This is the latest in a series of crackdowns in the name of “national security” since last July’s attempted coup.

In a decree published late Tuesday in Turkey’s Official Gazette, President Tayyip Erdogan has fired another 4,400 civil servants, including teachers and police, in the latest round of purges since last July’s attempted coup.

Turkish Scholars, Academics Fight Back Against Govt Purge

No reasons were given for this round other than those named — which included prominent constitutional law professor Ibrahim Kaboglu, who has expressed concerns about planned changes to the Turkish constitution which would grant the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan even more powers — had "links to terrorist organizations or groups deemed to be acting against national security interests."

Since a coup attempt in July in which almost 240 civilians were killed as Erdogan successfully resisted a takeover attempt by "rogue" soldiers supposedly loyal to U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, Turkey has used an official state of emergency to fire or suspend more than 125,000 people and make almost 40,000 arrests.

Among those dismissed in this latest round were 330 academics who had signed a petition last year criticizing military action in the restive southeast against Kurdish militants. At the time, Erdogan had said the academics — among whom was world-renowned linguist Noam Chomsky — would pay a price for their "treachery".

A History of the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

In the petition, almost 1,400 academics from around the world condemned the Turkish government for a "deliberate and planned massacre" against Turkish Kurds in the south of the country "in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party."

For over 30 years, the Turkish government has been fighting a civil war with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, who have been advocating for greater rights and political autonomy in the heavily Kurdish eastern and southeastern region of the country. A 2013 ceasefire agreement broke off in 2015. Since then, the country has seen some of the worst violence between the PKK and government forces since the beginning of the civil war which has claimed upwards of 40,000 dead since the late 1970s.


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