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The mass firings were the latest step in the government's crackdown following Friday's failed military coup. (Photo: Merton Wilton/flickr/cc)

Purge in Turkey Intensifies with Tens of Thousands Teachers, Public Servants Fired

Licenses revoked for 21,000 educators as arrest toll hits 9,000

Nadia Prupis

Turkey has revoked licenses for thousands of educators in the government's latest crackdown following Friday's failed military coup.

"The licenses of 21,000 teachers working in privately-run institutions have been canceled. Tip-offs that these [people] are mostly linked with terrorist activities have been taken into consideration," the Turkish Ministry of Education said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday, although it did not elaborate.

More than 15,000 employees at the ministry were also fired.

Meanwhile, the High Education Board demanded the resignation of 1,577 deans at every university throughout the country.

The mass firings came as the arrest toll from the uprising reached 9,000 people—many military officials, judges, religious figures, and others, including 85 generals and admirals—as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to weed out those he claims carried out the coup on the orders of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the government would "dig them up by their roots so that no clandestine terrorist organization will have the nerve to betray our blessed people again."

Dozens are reportedly still being interrogated.

Amid the post-coup purge, Erdoğan said Tuesday he supported reintroducing the death penalty. "In a country where our youths are killed with tanks and bombs, if we stay silent, as political people we will be held responsible in the afterlife," he said in a statement, noting that capital punishment exists in the U.S. and other countries.

Devlet Bahceli, chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party, told Parliament he would support the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) if it introduced legislation to reintroduce the death penalty.

"If the AKP is ready, we are in for the death penalty," Bahceli said.

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