Turkey charges 99 top officers over coup

Turkey has formally charged 99 generals and admirals in connection with the weekend’s thwarted coup attempt – a significant chunk of the country’s military top brass.

President Erdogan is meeting with loyal commanders and his cabinet in Ankara.

Authorities have banned all academics from travelling abroad, as they purge state of employees suspected of being connected to the failed coup continues.

More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended.

So far about 1,577 university deans (faculty heads) have been asked to resign in addition to 21,000 teachers and 15,000 education ministry officials.

They are suspected of having links to the alleged mastermind of the coup, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen – who denies any involvement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is chairing an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and is expected to make further announcements later on Wednesday.

As soon as it became clear that the coup had failed, the purges began – first with the security forces, then spreading to Turkey’s entire civilian infrastructure.

Human rights group Amnesty International has warned the purges are being extended to censor media outlets and journalists, including those critical of government policy.

“We are witnessing a crackdown of exceptional proportions in Turkey at the moment.

“While it is understandable, and legitimate, that the government wishes to investigate and punish those responsible for this bloody coup attempt, they must abide by the rule of law and respect freedom of expression,” Amnesty’s Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner said.

Turkey has now extended the clear-out to the education sector in its desire to root out Gulen supporters.

The Higher Education Council has asked university rectors to “urgently examine the situation of all academic and administrative personnel” linked to what it calls the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and report back by 5 August.

It has also told universities that academics who are already abroad on work or study missions should return home “within the shortest possible time”. -BBC

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