Turkey’s Erdogan shuts schools, health clinics, charities in first state of emergency decree

holds Korumb
Erdogan holds Koran

 
July 23, 2016 – ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey on Saturday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup.

Turkish authorities also detained a nephew of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused by Ankara of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt, the Anadolu state news agency reported.

A restructuring of Turkey’s once untouchable military also drew closer, with a planned meeting between Erdogan and the already purged top brass brought forward by several days.

The schools and other institutions are suspected by Turkish authorities of having links to Gulen, who has many followers in Turkey. Gulen denies any involvement in the coup attempt in which at least 246 people were killed.

His nephew, Muhammed Sait Gulen, was detained in the northeastern Turkish city of Erzurum and will be brought to the capital Ankara for questioning, Anadolu reported. Among possible charges that could be brought against him is membership of a terrorist organization, the agency said.

turkey nazi

It is the first time a relative of Gulen has been reported detained since the failed coup.

Critics of Erdogan fear he is using the abortive coup to wage an indiscriminate crackdown on dissent. The foundations targeted include, for example, the Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), a secular group that criticized a recent judicial law drafted by Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party.

In his decree, published by the Anadolu state news agency, Erdogan also extended to a maximum of 30 days from four days the period in which some suspects can be detained. It said this would facilitate a full investigation into the coup attempt.

Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death during the coup attempt, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that he would restructure the armed forces and bring in “fresh blood”.

The emergency allows Erdogan and the AK Party government, who are mildly Islamist, to pass laws without first having to win parliamentary support and also to curb or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary.

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round up

PURGES

Turkish authorities have already launched a series of mass purges of the armed forces, police, judiciary and education system, targeting followers of Gulen, who operates an extensive network of schools and charitable foundations.

The first decree signed by Erdogan authorizes the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions over suspected links to the Gulen movement, the Anadolu agency said.

kissing boy hand

In Ankara, the minister for European Union affairs chided Western countries for not sending any representatives to demonstrate their solidarity with Turks since the coup attempt.

“We are very surprised that our allies have not come to Turkey to visit even after one week has passed,” Omer Celik told reporters.
 
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