The Turkish government has announced plans to hire more than 20,000 additional teachers in order to replace those who were fired during a purge of suspected coup plotters within schools and other institutions.
Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz said the new teachers will replace dismissed state educators as well as teachers in private schools who were alleged to have connections with Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric accused by Turkey of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt. However, Gulen continues to deny any knowledge of the failed attempt.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that in all, 15 universities, 934 other schools, and 109 student dormitories that had alleged ties to Gulen have been closed throughout the country, in addition to 19 unions, 35 medical institutions and over 1,100 other associations and foundations.
A military junta linked to FETO attempted a coup of the democratically elected government on July 15, pushing for martial law to go into effect. However, the attempt was put to a stop by millions of Turkish citizens in addition to police and military loyal to the government. In all, 264 people were killed, the majority of whom were civilians, and over 2,000 people were injured.
Turkey has declared a three-month state of emergency in order to restore security levels after the attempted coup, brought down by loyalist security forces and pro-government protestors. Overall, more than 13,ooo people in the military, judiciary, and other institutions have been detained. This includes 9,000 soldiers, 2,100 judges and prosecutors, and 1,485 police.
Tens of thousands of supporters came out on Sunday to speak out against the coup attempt. Organized by the opposition Republican People’s Party, the party was close to secularist generals who used to control the military. Posters at the rally proclaimed “No to coups” and “We’re standing up for the republic and democracy.”
“The coup attempt was done against our democratic, secular, social state, governed by rule of law,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party, said in a speech.
Kilicdaroglu, the sole speaker at the rally, read a 10-point declaration titled the “Taksim Manifesto” that condemned all perpetrators of the coup attempt as well as its internal and external supporters. “Those detained for complicity in the coup attempt must be tried within the rule of law,” he said.
While Erdogan was not directly criticized by Kilicdaroglu, he did note the importance of a free press and the freedom of assembly, while at the same time putting down dictatorship and authoritarianism. He previously noted how the state of emergency in the country put democracy into jeopardy by giving Erdogan additional powers.
In all, around 50,000 people in the country have lost their jobs after having been suspected of ties to coup plotters. In addition, the presidential guard has been disbanded after close to 300 members were suspected of plotting against Erdogan, and Muhammet Sait Gulen was detained, nephew of the cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
Turkey is currently asking the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen. President Barack Obama notified the country of the extradition process in place in the US and has asked them to offer any evidence it has.