Turkish government post-coup purge widens

Turkish government post-coup purge widens

SBS World News Radio: The Turkish government has vowed to eliminate those it calls allies of the United States-based cleric it's blaming for the failed coup.

It is widening detentions of people in the army, police and judiciary to include the education sector, intelligence agencies and religious authorities.

Turkish officials have now suspended or detained around 35,000 soldiers, police, judges and civil servants.

They have also revoked 21,000 teachers' licences and ordered the resignation of more than 1,500 deans from all universities across the country.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government are accusing Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the coup attempt which left 232 people dead.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says those responsible will be dealt with.

"Turkey is a state run by rule of law. Everything will be done wthin the law. Those who are responsible will be handed over to justice and justice will be done through the courts. Anything other than that can never be accepted in a lawful state. From now on, anyone who acts outside the rule of law will be dealt with appropriately. What we need today is unity and solidarity. We need to improve our fraternity."

The United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, says those responsible for violence during the attempted coup should be held accountable.

But Mr Hussein's spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, says Turkey should ensure that those detained are treated lawfully.

"There is a very high threshold for the removal or the suspension of judges, according to international human rights law. Judges obviously serve a very important purpose and particularly in the aftermath of an attempted coup. Each judge's case needs to be independently and individually assessed before they are suspended or removed from their posts. And we are concerned that the mass suspension does not allow for such individual assessment."

The United States says President Barack Obama has held a phone conversation with President Erdogan to discuss the situation in Turkey, says spokesman Josh Earnest.

"The President used the phone call to reiterate once again the strong commitment of the United States to the democratically elected civilian government of Turkey. The President pledged any needed assistance to the Turkish government as they conduct and investigation to determine exactly what happened. The President's expectation is that people from Turkey want to see a full investigation and accountability for those who are complicit in the failed coup."

Mr Earnest says the two leaders also discussed the status of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

He is blamed by Turkish authorities for masterminding the failed coup - allegations Mr Gulen denies.

Josh Earnest says the Turkish government has now sought his extradition.

But he says Turkey must provide evidence that Mr Gulen was involved in the coup attempt.

"There is a process that is established in the extradition treaty which we will follow. There also is a due process to which people who live in the United States are entitled. And we will make sure that that due process is followed as well. The decision about Mr Gulen's status and the decision to extradite him is not a decision made by the president of the United States: it is a legal decision, that is made pursuant to a legal process, part of which is codified in a longstanding treaty between the United States and Turkey."

 

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