(JNS.org) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist regime has been carrying out a massive crackdown on its opponents in the public-sector workforce, recent research from several sources has revealed.
Citing data compiled by organizations including Turkey Purge, PEN International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Stockholm Center for Freedom, Turkish journalist Burak Bekdil noted in a recent analysis for the Gatestone Institute that 128,398 public employees have been fired under Erdogan, and that 91,658 are currently being detained.
Turkish Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz, meanwhile, said that a total of 33,065 staffers—mostly teachers and administrative employees—have been dismissed from his ministry, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.
“Qualitatively speaking, the situation at Turkish universities is no better. Most university presidents, appointed by Erdogan, staunchly ally with his party politics and dismiss academics they view as ‘Erdogan’s political adversaries,’” wrote Bekdil, a fellow for the Middle East Forum think tank. Turkey purged 330 scholars from universities Feb. 7.
“After he came to power in November 2002, Erdogan promised to make Turkey a land of freedoms, devoid of the military’s tutelage. Since then, he has tamed the once-secular military establishment. Nevertheless, his Islamist ‘land of freedoms’ vision has only been partially materialized: You have all the freedoms you want—so long as you are a pro-Erdogan Islamist,” Bekdil wrote.
In its annual “Freedom in the World” report, Washington, D.C.-based Freedom House said Jan. 31 that in 2016, Turkey suffered the largest decline in freedoms among the 195 countries encompassed by the study.
Erdogan has also been known for a history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, although Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize relations last year following a six-year rupture.