CRACKDOWN

Turkey Axes More Than 18,000 Civil Servants in Latest Coup-Related Purge

The Turkish government issued an emergency decree Sunday axing 18,632 civil servants accused of having ties to terror groups. The purge, which comes just a day before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to be sworn in for another term with unprecedented powers, affects 9,000 police officers, 6,000 members of the military, and hundreds of teachers. Twelve non-governmental organizations, three newspapers, and one TV station have also been shut down as a result of the decree. More than 130,000 people have been fired and 75,000 arrested under a state of emergency declared in the country following a July 2016 coup attempt. Erdogan blamed the coup on U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and said sweeping new measures were necessary in the interests of national security, though critics have accused him of using the coup as a pretext to tighten his own grip on power.