The fact that hundreds of members of a left-wing trade union are among individuals purged from state institutions by the latest government decrees has led to claims that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is seeking to eliminate all dissidents in the country under the pretext of its crackdown on the faith-based Gülen movement.
According to a story in the gazeteyolculuk.net news portal on Sunday, at least 615 members of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), a left-wing union, have been expelled from state institutions by new decrees issued by the government on Saturday.
As part of the new decrees, which have the force of law, a total 10,158 staff members have been purged from state institutions for allegedly “being members of terrorist organizations or organizations, groups that were listed by the National Security Council as acting against the security of the state” while 15 more media outlets have been closed down. Some other controversial measures have also been taken by the latest decrees.
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.
Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
More than 105,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and over 36,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.