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Turkey Seizes Institutions in Crackdown07/23 09:49

   ISTANBUL (AP) -- In a new tactic against suspected coup plotters, Turkey on 
Saturday announced it had seized more than 2,250 social, educational or health 
care institutions and facilities that it claims pose a threat to national 
security.

   President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also sharply criticized Western countries 
that expressed concern about possible human rights violations in the sweeping 
purges the government has carried out after the July 15 failed military coup 
that have left at least 10,000 people in jail and another 60,000 tossed out of 
their jobs.

   Erdogan told France 24 in an interview broadcast Saturday that Turkey has no 
choice but to impose stringent security measures in the wake of the attempted 
coup that killed about 290 people and was put down by loyalist forces and 
protesters.

   "We are duty-bound to take these measures. Our Western friends fail to see 
it that way. I cannot understand why," Erdogan said. "I'm under the impression 
that they will only see that once all the political leaders of Turkey are 
killed, and then they'll start to dance for joy."

   Turkey has imposed a three-month state of emergency and detained or 
dismissed tens of thousands of people in the military, the judiciary, the 
education system and other institutions. Turkish leaders allege that supporters 
of a U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, infiltrated state agencies and groomed 
loyalists in a vast network of private schools as part of an elaborate, 
long-term plan to take over the country.

   Gulen, a critic and former ally of Erdogan, has denied any knowledge of the 
attempted coup.

   Some European governments say they are concerned that Turkey's large-scale 
purges could jeopardize basic freedoms. Turkish officials have said they will 
respect the rule of law, though some commentators wonder whether the purges are 
targeting opponents of Erdogan who had nothing to do with the coup, thereby 
strengthening his power.

   The Turkish treasury and a state agency that regulates foundations have 
taken over more than 1,200 foundations and associations, about 1,000 private 
educational institutions and student dormitories, 35 health care institutions, 
19 labor groups and 15 universities, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported 
Saturday.

   Those institutions "belong to, have ties with or are in communication with" 
the Gulen movement, according to a decree published Saturday in Turkey's 
official gazette.

   Turkey has criticized the United States for not immediately handing over the 
cleric for prosecution, though President Barack Obama said there is a legal 
process for extradition and encouraged Turkey to present evidence.

   Judges, military personnel, prosecutors and other civil servants who have 
been dismissed will lose any gun and pilot licenses, and will have to vacate 
any publicly funded residences where they live within 15 days, according to the 
decree. Those dismissed cannot work in the public sector and cannot work for 
private security firms.

   The decree also extended the period that suspects can be detained without 
charges up to 30 days. All detainees' communications with their lawyers can be 
monitored upon order of the public prosecutor's office.


(KA)

 
 
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