2,000 more Education Ministry personnel suspended

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The Turkish Ministry of Education suspended 1,980 staff members including teachers as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of being behind a failed coup attempt on July 15, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, investigations are continuing into the suspended personnel.

According to a statement from Mehmet Balık, the head of teachers union Eğitim-İş, in October, the number of teachers who have been suspended since the failed military coup had reached 70,000.

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 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and over 40,000 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.

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