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Thousands of workers purged by emergency decree in Turkey

THOUSANDS of workers have been purged from their posts by emergency decree in Turkey in the last mass sackings before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is officially sworn in for a new term tomorrow.

The announcement had been anticipated as the tyrannical president is set to assume unprecedented powers that were agreed in an allegedly rigged constitutional referendum last year.

More than 18,000 civil servants, police, military and academics were sacked in the last edict issued under the state of emergency, which Mr Erdogan is expected to lift tomorrow.

The sackings were ordered on the pretext of fighting terrorism, although Turkey’s sweeping definition of a “terrorist” includes those who oppose the government, including elected politicians.

Mr Erdogan claimed victory in the June 24 presidential elections with 53 per cent of the vote, but both he and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) polled worse than previously, losing more than two million votes.

The pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said that the number of invalid ballots cast in the elections was a record 1,052,000. It branded the result a “coup against democracy.”

An academic, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals, told the Star: “For the last few years, I don’t know how many times we’ve waited and looked for our names. It’s the summary of our lives.”

Many of her colleagues have already been targeted by the purges and many others have left the country due to the “climate of fear” that has been created in Turkey’s universities.

“I have a bag packed ready, waiting for the knock on the door,” she explained, adding: “I’m so tired of it all. All we want is peace. Is that too much to ask?”

At least 8,000 academics have been sacked since the failed coup of July 2016, many of them after signing a petition calling for a peaceful settlement of the so-called Kurdish question.

“Once you are sacked, they take your passport and you are blacklisted from working. You can’t get any benefits and your pension is stopped. Erdogan’s Turkey is a living nightmare,” the academic explained.

The Official Gazette reported today that 18,632 people had been sacked, including 8,998 police officers, 3,077 soldiers, 1,949 air force personnel and 1,126 members of the navy.

Some 1,052 civil servants and 199 academics were also among those dismissed, and at least three newspapers, a television channel and 12 associations were shut down.

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