ANKARA, Turkey, July 20 (UPI) — The Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now arrested, fired or suspended a total of more than 50,000 people in its post-coup d’etat attempt crackdown.
Turkish media report that 15,200 teachers and other education staff have been fired; 1,577 university deans have been forced to resign; 8,777 interior ministry employees have been suspended or fired; 1,500 finance ministry staff have been fired; 257 employees of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s office have been fired; over 6,000 military personnel have been arrested; 9,000 police officers have been fired; and 3,000 judges have been suspended.
The Turkish government has blamed Friday’s failed coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania in self-exile. The coup attempt left more than 232 people dead and 1,541 injured.
The Turkish media regulation agency on Tuesday revoked the licenses of 24 radio and television channels on accusations of having links to Gulen.
Turkey is increasing pressure on the United States to extradite Gulen, who said the accusations that he was behind the failed coup are “ridiculous.”
“I urge the U.S. government to reject any effort to abuse the extradition process to carry out political vendettas,” he said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said any decision to extradite Gulen would be made under a shared treaty between the United States and Turkey.
Meanwhile, state-run Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday that pro-coup soldiers who attacked a hotel where Erdogan and his family were vacationing said they were ordered to “capture an important terrorist leader.” About 40 special forces soldiers were airlifted into an airbase with the order to attack a resort where Erdogan was staying, anonymous security sources told Anadolu. Sources said the soldiers began to fly away from the base but were told of the coup attempt during the flight. It is unclear how many soldiers continued on with the attack.