By Alexandra Krauska
By Alexandra Krauska
Rabat – The number of people arrested, suspended or fired in Turkey based on suspicions of disloyalty to President Erdogan has risen to more than 58,000, according to BBC. After the unsuccessful coup by soldiers last week, Erdogan wants to identify all government workers who may have been affiliated with the movement.
Turkish media announced that over 15,000 teachers and school staff, more than 1,500 university deans, and over 10,000 government workers had been removed from their positions.
This is in addition to the 6,000 arrests of military personnel, suspension of over 3,000 judges, and firing of almost 9,000 police officers that happened earlier this week.
The government blames Fethullah Gulen for the coup and is looking to remove all of his supporters from their positions. Gulen is an imam, and the leader of the Hizmet-Gulen movement, which advocates for moderate, pro-Western Sunni Islam, and encourages activism, civic engagement, and interfaith dialogue.
The movement has organized charitable foundations that opened schools, tutoring centers, and hospitals, and provides humanitarian aid. Critics believe, however, that the movement intends to spread socially conservative ideas about alcohol and marriage and to gain power.
The movement has become very powerful, and BBC believes that it may be the largest Muslim network in the world. Gulen, who was once a close ally of Erdogan’s, became his enemy in the past decade, as the power struggle between Gulen and Erdogan became more tense. He moved to the United States in 1999, and was charged with treason soon after. In 2013, Erdogan moved to shut down Hizmet-funded schools and fire Hizmet supporters from government positions.
The people who were removed from their positions, suspended, or arrested are believed to have links to the Hizmet movement, especially the teachers and government workers.
Gulen denied having had any role in directing the coup and condemned it as treason, in an interview with BBC.
In addition to the arrests, the Turkish government revoked the licences of 24 different radio and television stations that may be affiliated with Gulen.