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Turkey is purging 1,577 university deans and 15,200 education workers

Reuters/Baz Ratner
Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hold an effigy of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen during a pro-government demonstration in Ankara ,Turkey , July 17, 2016.…
  • Amy X. Wang
By Amy X. Wang


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

In the aftermath of a failed military coup last Friday, July 15, the government of Turkey is pointing fingers wherever it can.

The latest to be accused? More than a thousand university deans.

Turkey’s Board of Higher Education today requested the resignation of 1,577 college deans (1,176 at public schools and 401 at private institutions), effectively sacking them, according to state-run media. Further details were not provided—but as Bloomberg notes, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had a rocky relationship with academics all year, putting many on trial for criticizing the government’s handling of tension with Turkish Kurds in the southeast.

Separately, Turkey’s Ministry of National Education today dismissed 15,200 education personnel over alleged involvement with the coup, though it is unclear whether the employees have been permanently fired from office. Per the ministry’s statement (translation):

As of today, 15,200 public personnel working at our ministry’s central and rural offices have been suspended from their duties, and an investigation has been launched regarding these people.

The dismissed education workers and university deans join thousands of police officers, soldiers, and judges—here’s a running tally—who’ve also been removed from power for suspected involvement in the attempted coup.

Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim told Reuters that his government is determined to persecute the main party responsible for the coup—alleged to be a movement led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen—and “dig them up by their roots so that no clandestine terrorist organization will have the nerve to betray our blessed people again.”

Official figures from the Turkish government report that 232 people were killed and 1,541 wounded in the wake of the coup attempt last week.

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