Academics and journalists are now being jailed in Turkey as 'witch-hunt' continues

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters following the Friday prayers in Ankara, Turkey, July 22, 2016.Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERSTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters following the Friday prayers in Ankara, Turkey, July 22, 2016.

It has now been ten days since the attempted coup in Turkey and the ensuing witch-hunt of anyone who might have been involved with the coup is continuing unabated.

On Monday, the purge intensified once more: journalists and academics were detained and ambassadors will be removed.

Turkey announced it would remove some ambassadors from their posts, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with private broadcaster Haberturk TV, Reuters reports.

The government also announced the detention of 42 journalists, broadcaster NTV reported, according to Reuters.

31 academics, including professors, were detained as a part of the ongoing purge, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, reported. The operation was reportedly carried out in five provinces and based in Istanbul.

Up until now, professors had been asked to resign or were fired but not detained. That treatment was reserved for soldiers, judges, prosecutors and generals.

Since the beginning of the purge, Turkish authorities have suspended, detained, or placed under investigation more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, teachers, civil servants.

European leaders, who rely heavily on Turkey to contain the waves of refugees coming from the Middle East, have warily observed the aftermath of the coup and been very sceptical about the Turkish President’s reaction, especially after the latter floated the idea of re-introducing the death penalty.

Many of those detained are suspected of being followers of Pennsylvania-based preacher Fetullah Gulen who enjoys support from the judiciary and military in Turkey and who is accused of orchestrating the coup by the government.

Turkey has formally requested that the US extradite him back to Turkey for his alleged involvement and has warned that its ties with Washington would be impacted if the United States did not extradite the cleric. Turkish authorities also detained a nephew of Gulen over the weekend.

Turkey Coup Aftermath by the Numbers Graphiq

Turkey’s state-run Turkish Airlines has now also started firing people whom it suspects were involved in the coup. Over 100 employees, including management and cabin crew were let go on Monday.

On Saturday president Erdogan ordered the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a three-month-long state of emergency after the failed military coup.

Monday’s new wave of arrests will do nothing to alleviate the fears of Western countries, rights groups, and some Turkish people, that Erdogan is capitalising on the aftermath of the coup to tighten his grip on power.

On Monday, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, also reiterated that a country that included the death penalty in its legislative arsenal would not become part of the European Union.

“I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member anytime soon and not even over a longer period,” Juncker said on French television channel France 2.

“What we are witnessing right now is the final stage of a witch hunt,” an adjunct professor at a Turkish university told Vice News, though she claims it started months before the failed coup as Turkey’s government had started an operation to silence “any opposition voices against the government.”

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