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Turkey fires another 10,000 civil servants in post-coup purge

Turkey photos 2
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supporters take to the streets to halt a coup attempt earlier.

Istanbul, Turkey | AFP |

Turkish authorities have fired over 10,000 more civil servants, as the government presses a crackdown over the failed July coup, the official gazette said.

A total of 10,131 government employees have been removed, mainly from the education, justice and health ministries, according to announcements published late Saturday.

The sackings came as the Council of Europe warned Turkey against re-establishing the death penalty.

“Executing the death penalty is incompatible with membership of the Council of Europe,” the 47-member organisation, which includes Turkey, tweeted a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would ask parliament to consider its reintroduction following the coup attempt.

Capital punishment was abolished in Turkey in 2004 as the nation sought accession to the European Union.

“Soon, soon, don’t worry. It’s happening soon, God willing,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told supporters in Ankara on Saturday as crowds chanted: “We want the death penalty!”

The government on Sunday also announced the closure of 15 pro-Kurdish and other media outlets.

University rector elections have also been suspended, with Erdogan set to pick the winners from a pool of candidates selected by the nation’s education authority.

The moves come three months after the government declared a state of emergency following the failed bid by a rogue faction of the army to oust Erdogan.

More than 35,000 people have been arrested since then, and many dozens of teachers, police officers and judges have either been suspended or fired.

Ankara accuses Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the US, of masterminding the attempt to oust Erdogan — a claim he denies.

Erdogan, who has not specified a timetable for the reintroduction of the death penalty, said his government would take the proposal to parliament, which he said he was sure would approve it, allowing him to ratify the proposal.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz added to the Council of Europe’s warning, denouncing Turkey for considering a move that would “slam the door shut to the European Union”.

“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,” Kurz told the Austrian Press Agency.

Ankara formally launched its EU membership bid in 2005. Since then, the bloc has opened 15 negotiating chapters out of the 35 required to join, but to date only one chapter has successfully been completed.

Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjorn Jagland had already warned Ankara against reintroducing capital punishment in August, noting the European Convention on Human Rights, which Turkey has ratified, clearly excludes it.

The Convention, signed in 1983, excludes capital punishment except in time of war or imminent threat of war and a 2002 protocol ended the time-of-war proviso.

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