Health minister says over 6,500 staff members dismissed

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Turkish Minister of Health, Recep Akdağ

Turkey’s Health Minister Recep Akdağ said over 6,500 staff members have been dismissed from the ministry as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.

“About 1,500 doctors have been dismissed. This is not significant when considering the total number of doctors working within the ministry,” added Akdağ during a visit to the Ordu office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday.

Akdağ added that they would employ new people to fill the positions of the dismissed staff.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

In a currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention.

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