Yet again, Ankara seeks U.S. help to detain Fethullah Gülen

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkish authorities claimed that more than 10,000 civil servants have been expelled and 15 more media outlets have been closed down over suspected links with U.S.-based ...

• Turkey to bring back death penalty in face of EU opposition

• More powers given to Turkish prosecutors

• Opposition party claims Turkish government is misusing emergency power

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkish authorities claimed that more than 10,000 civil servants have been expelled and 15 more media outlets have been closed down over suspected links with U.S.-based cleric, Muhammed Fethullah Gülen. 

Following the failure of the attempted military coup, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has cracked down on the country and began a cleansing of security forces.

He has come down hard on the rebellion, that the country’s leader believes was instigated by Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, despite vehement denial from the latter. 

Further, Erdogan has for long warned that he is considering reinstating capital punishment.

The Council of Europe has warned Turkey against reestablishing the death penalty as Ankara stepped up its crackdown over the failed coup in July.

According to a new emergency rule decree published in the official Gazette, a total of 10,131 government employees including teachers, academics and health workers have lost their jobs. 

A total of ten newspapers, two news agencies and three magazines were closed. Almost all of them reported from the largely Kurdish southeast. The total number of media outlets shut down since the start of the state of emergency now exceeds 160. 

Gülen, a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and political figure, is wanted by officials in Ankara for his apparent role in orchestrating the coup. He has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and has voiced his innocence. 

The Turkish government meanwhile has pointed towards the necessity to root out all supporters of Gulen from the state apparatus and key positions. 

Turkey has formally arrested more than 37,000 people and has already dismissed 100,000 civil servants, judges, prosecutors, police and others in an unprecedented crackdown. 

Ankara wants the United States to detain and extradite Gulen so that he can be prosecuted in Turkey on charges that he masterminded the attempt to overthrow the government.

Meanwhile, Figen Yuksekdag, co-leader of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP), was also accused of “terrorist propaganda” and banned from leaving Turkey “because of activities that indicate she might flee” abroad. The HDP condemned the decision as “totally arbitrary” and said they would appeal.

The Turkish government claimed that its actions were justified by the threat posed to the state by the events early this year, when more than 240 people died. 

The Turkish President said, "I believe this issue will come to the parliament," and repeated that he would approve it, a move that would sink Turkey's hopes of European Union membership.  

People were chanting, “We want the death penalty!” at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Ataturk, to celebrate republic day ceremony. 

In reply, President Erdogan told supporters in Ankara that, "Soon, soon, don't worry. It's happening soon, God willing." 

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said,"The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane form of punishment, which has to be abolished worldwide and stands in clear contradiction to the European values." 

47 members from European council have opined, “Executing the death penalty is incompatible with membership of the Council of Europe."

Sezgin Tanrikulu, an MP from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said, "What the government and Erdogan are doing right now is a direct coup against the rule of law and democracy.”

Lale Karabiyik, another CHP lawmaker, said the move was a clear exploitation of the emergency rule decrees and described it as a coup d’état or a violent overthrow on the education system. 

Pro-Kurdish opposition said the decrees were used as tools to establish a 'one-man regime'.

However, without caring much about the criticism, the Turkish government has given full power to prosecutors, who now will be able to record conversations between people convicted of terrorism and their lawyers, seize the audio tapes and limit attorney-client communication in terrorism cases, according to a separate decree. 

In addition to that, the ability of universities to elect their own rectors has also been abolished. 

From now on, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will directly appoint rectors from the candidates nominated by the High Educational Board (YOK).


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