ANKARA Dec 21 Turkey suspended nearly 2,000
teachers and school employees on Wednesday, an official from the
Ministry of Education said, as part of the widening purge that
has followed a failed coup in July.
More than 125,000 people have been dismissed from the
police, the military, the judiciary, the civil service or the
education system, and almost 40,000 arrested, for alleged
connections with the coup attempt, during which at least 240
people were killed.
The official told Reuters that 1,980 teachers and school
employees had been suspended pending investigation. No other
information was immediately available.
Turkey says followers of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric
Fethullah Gulen have infiltrated state institutions and plotted
to overthrow the government. On Wednesday, President Tayyip
Erdogan said that the 22-year-old police officer who
assassinated Russia's ambassador in Ankara this week was also
one of Gulen's followers.
Gulen himself has condemned the coup and the assassination
and denied any involvement.
Rights groups and some of Turkey's Western allies fear that
Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to crack down on dissent.
Authorities have also arrested 140 journalists and closed
down 177 media outlets, although 11 were subsequently reopened.
More than 2,000 schools, universities and dormitories have also
been shut down.
(Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing
by Kevin Liffey)