Turkey suspends 2,800 more teachers over Gülen ties

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Turkey’s Education Ministry suspended 2,800 more teachers on Thursday in the latest wave of an ongoing witch-hunt against suspected sympathizers of the faith-based Gülen movement.

The teachers were suspended according to a list that was prepared by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) of teachers who use a smart phone application known as ByLock.

The lists of teachers to be suspended have been sent to the relevant provinces.

In line with a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a failed military coup on July 15, Turkey has already suspended more than 28,000 Education Ministry personnel, most of whom are teachers, on the grounds that they had links to the Gülen movement.

The number of teachers suspended or under investigation has reached 40,000. It is believed that there could be more suspensions in the Education Ministry and other ministries in accordance with reports sent by MİT about personnel using ByLock.

Turkish prosecutors claim that ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15. Critics, however, have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.

Tens of thousands of civil servants have either been dismissed or arrested for using the application. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

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