Turkey sacks 18,600 staff under emergency decree, World News & Top Stories

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the July 2016 attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the July 2016 attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan More

Turkish police on Friday launched nationwide raids to detain almost 350 people, including soldiers, accused of links to the group blamed for the July 2016 failed coup, state media reported.

Another 1,052 civil servants from the justice ministry and linked institutions have been fired as well as 649 from the gendarmerie and 192 from the coast guard.

Thousands of state employees were dismissed in Turkey under an emergency decree for allegedly threatening national security.

Gülen, who Turkey has requested to be extradited from the USA, is also accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.

With the declaration of new cabinet, the state of emergency that expires on July 19 should automatically be lifted, according to outgoing Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

The government has defended the measures imposed under the state of emergency in place since July 2016, saying they were needed to eradicate the influence of Gulen from Turkish society.

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Human rights groups say the purge has also targeted the government's political opponents and critics and has swept up innocent people, as well.

Gulen denies involvement in the coup attempt.

"The (Gulen) organization is a religious structure in its basis, but the defendants on trial here are mostly people who've espoused a secular lifestyle", he said.

Among the powers he will have under constitutional changes approved in a referendum a year ago will be the right to start and end states of emergency unilaterally.

Turkish authorities have launched a vast crackdown in the wake of the failed coup, arresting tens of thousands of people including journalists under a two year state of emergency.

One of the newspapers closed was the Kurdish-language daily Welat based in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakir as well as the pro-Kurdish Ozgurlukcu Demokrasi whose Istanbul offices were raided by police in March.

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