Turkish prime minister: 81,000 civil servants suspended since coup

Turkey has suspended or fired 81,494 state employees, including more than 3,000 soldiers, since the failed coup attempt last month, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, according to broadcaster CNN Turk.

Yildirim also said that US Vice President Joe Biden will visit Turkey. The White House confirmed later on Saturday that Biden will travel to Turkey later this month and meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Yildirim.

The talks with the US are likely to revolve around Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Turkish Islamic cleric accused of plotting the July 15 coup attempt - charges he denies.

The White House said Biden and Turkish leaders would "discuss the US-Turkey relationship and a range of issues of importance to both nations."

Turkish officials have said US Secretary of State John Kerry was set to come on August 24, but there has been no confirmation from Washington.

Turkey has been stepping up its rhetoric against the United States, demanding Washington extradite the cleric.

The US has made clear it needs a formal extradition request, through appropriate channels, and its legal system will then weigh the merits of the case.

Turkey says the purges of the civil service - included judges, employees of numerous ministries and the army - are aimed at Gulen's followers. In addition to these state employees, 21,000 teachers have lost their licenses.

Police have also detained 35,022 people, of whom 17,740 have been formally arrested under court orders in the past four weeks.

Biden's trip is scheduled to take place August 22-25. It also includes stops in Riga, Latvia, and Stockholm, Sweden, the White House said.

Last update: Sun, 14/08/2016 - 00:43

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