Turkey dismissed 7,563 government employees and educators on Friday in a fresh purge as part of Anakara’s retaliation to the attempted coup d’etat that occurred last year.
Anakra has arrested or detained 168,801 individuals they say are linked to the uprising since July 15, 2016, according to figures given by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on July 7 of this year.
The monitoring site Turkey Purge says that nine international students were also dismissed in Friday’s wave, and awards were taken away from athletes.
The anniversary of the coup is this Saturday, when a year ago, rogue units of the armed forces bombed buildings and attacked civilians, causing some 250 deaths in the process.
Ankara put the blame on the followers of United States-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who they say wanted to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mr Gulen has denied any involvment in the uprising and Washington has ignored calls from Ankara to extradite him.
The Turkish Ministry of Interior says that 10,732 police officers, 7,631 armed forces members, 2,575 members of the judiciary and 131 journalists have been arrested thus far, many of them without evidence of involvement.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yirldirim posted a statement on the Manila Times website that says Saturday marks the ‘first anniversary of the great victory of our democracy.’
Human rights groups in European countries, as well as Canada and the United States have condemned the mass dismissal or arrest of medical workers, educators, government employees, soldiers and media producers since the attempted takeover.
Several media outlets in Turkey have also been forced to close since July 2016.
However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised Turkish “courage” on July 9 at an oil conference in Istanbul where he received an award for his four decades of working in the industry.
“We’re all here in Istanbul at a momentous time. Nearly a year ago, the Turkish people – brave men and women – stood up against coup plotters and defended their democracy,” Tillerson said.
“I take this moment to recognize their courage and honor the victims of the events of July 15, 2016.”
Tillerson made no mention of Ankara’s crackdown that has since followed.