Turkish Labour Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said Tuesday that authorities have dismissed [Reuters report] more than 90,000 public servants for alleged connections to a coup attempt in July. Critics say the purge is targeted to any political opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [BBC profile]. After the coup attempt 125,485 public servants were put through legal proceedings and 94,867 have already been dismissed as a result. Some 40,000 of those included were from the judiciary, the police, the military, the civil service and the education system. The purge is being carried on an emergency rule that allows the government to bypass parliament to enact new laws and limit rights and freedoms when necessary. Several rights groups are concerned that Erdoğan is abusing the emergency rule to silence dissenters.
Since the failed coup in Turkey in July, where Turkish military forces tried to overthrow the government, the Turkish government has taken several controversial steps to strengthen its power. Earlier this week judge for the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals ordered the release [JURIST report] of Turkish judge Aydin Sefa Akay who was detained in July. Also in January the Turkish Parliament approved a plan [JURIST report], which, if approved by vote later this year, would increase presidential power within the country and would allow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stay in office until 2029. In November Turkey significantly restricted the activities of NGOs like human rights organizations and children’s groups and arrested opposition party leaders [JURIST reports] alleging they were connected to terror organizations. In October Human Rights Watch warned [JURIST report] that the emergency decrees put in place after the failed coup, had resulted in serious human rights violations. In July Amnesty International condemned [JURIST report] Turkey for attacking the freedom of the press by issuing arrest warrants for 42 journalists.