Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for 15 years, has now dismissed another 18,000 state workers, including soldiers, police and academics. A TV channel and another three newspapers have also been closed.
Since the failed coup attempt two years ago the government has fired more than 125,000 people, and jailed over 160,000 people.
Turkey’s Western allies have accused the president of using the July 2016 coup as an excuse to crack down on dissent.
The new dismissal of another 18,000 state workers, comes as President Erdogan is preparing to be sworn in with sweeping new powers on Monday. Under controversial constitutional changes approved by a referendum last year, parliament has been weakened and the post of prime minister abolished.
The president will be able to appoint to ministers and vice-presidents and personally intervene in the legal system.
The government blames the coup attempt on a US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who for many years was a supporter of Erdogan, until he began to criticize Erdogan’s increasing tendencies toward dictatorship.
Then Erdogan turned against Imam Gulen and has ordered his security forces to arrest tens of thousands of Gulan followers.
One recent example of an innocent man’s arrest is 86 year old Uncle Celal who, inspired by Fethullah Gulen, was the founder and major supporter of several private schools in Nigde.
He started from humble beginnings and eventually built the first furniture super store in Turkey. Uncle Celal devoted his life to promoting education. Now this elderly philanthropist businessman Celal Afsar is in jail over coup charges.
His daughter and son-in-law are also imprisoned. However, his bed-ridden wife was kindly left behind by Erdogan’s security forces.
Although Erdogan claims to be a religious Muslim, and is the head of an Islamist Political party, he has totally ignored the Qur’anic teaching: “’Believers, be steadfast in the cause of God and bear witness with justice. Do not let your enmity for others turn you away from justice. Deal justly; that is nearer to being God-fearing.” (5:8)