Turkey to fill thousands of post-purge vacancies in courts, schools

The Turkish government announced on Sunday plans to appoint thousands of new recruits to its judiciary and education sector, filling the vacancies of those purged in the wake of last week's failed military coup.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that 3,000 new judges and state prosecutors would be appointed, while Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz announced the recruitment of 20,000 new teachers.

Since the July 15 coup attempt, more than 50,000 civil servants have been fired, suspended or detained, including nearly 3,000 members of the judiciary, and 21,000 teachers had their licences revoked.

"There will be no inconvenience to our citizens. We are taking steps to see to that," Bozdag said in comments made in a broadcast interview later carried by state news agency Anadolu.

The justice minister said that the government had already scheduled 1,500 November exams for prospective judges and prosecutors. That number has been doubled in light of "recent developments," he told broadcaster Kanal 7.

Meanwhile, children who had once attended private schools are to be taught by state-approved teachers. "To our pupils we say the following: No one will be at a disadvantage. We will provide our youngsters with a far better education than before," Yilmaz was quoted by Anadolu as saying.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled by decree since he declared a state of emergency earlier in the week. His tough response to the revolt has broad support among the general population, with tens of thousands gathered Sunday at Istanbul's central Taksim Square as part of ongoing rallies in support of the government.

Sunday's protest was organized by the main opposition party, the centre-left People's Republican Party (CHP). The CHP also invited Erdogan's conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the event.

On Saturday, the president issued a decree to close 2,341 institutions - including schools, charities, unions and medical centres - all of which the government says are linked to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The government claims that Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, was behind the attempted putsch and has established a "parallel state" within Turkey's military, judiciary and bureaucratic institutions.

The coup began on July 15 and left 270 people dead. Gulen has denied any involvement in the plot.

Turkey has detained more than 13,000 people as part of a crackdown in response to a failed military coup. Of those detained, 6,000 have been placed under arrest.

The legal length of time for which a person can be detained was extended from four days to 30 under the recent decree.

Amnesty International released a report on Sunday warning of arbitrary detentions and torture practices following the coup, calling on Turkey to allow independent monitors to assess detainment conditions.

Agriculture minister Faruk Celik meanwhile said the coup plotters were lower than animals: "As agriculture minister, I say that it is an insult for animals to compare them [coup plotters] to them."

Last update: Sun, 24/07/2016 - 19:19

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