As post-coup Turkey enters its second week, the focus of the ever-growing purge seems to be increasingly centered on private schools and charities, which the Erdogan government has accused of secretly being in league with Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who was once a close ally to Erdogan, and is now accused of being behind the coup.
The estimated 60,000 people fired in the wake of the failed coup have included a huge number of schoolteachers, as well as literally all of the university deans in the country. Reports have suggested Turkey’s intelligence agency had substantial “enemies” lists prepared long before the coup happened, and they have served as a pretext to get rid of them en masse.
Over the weekend, Erdogan ordered some 1,000 private schools closed, accusing them all of being linked to Gulen. Under the current state of emergency powers that he has, there is no real recourse to the closures, nor any need for the government to provide evidence against the schools.
Erdogan seems to be in the process of redesigning much of the nation’s education system, with an eye on people loyal to him, as word has gone out that some 20,000 new teachers are to be hired to replace those who were “suspended” in the wake of the coup, suggesting those purged simply aren’t going to get their jobs back.
The 20,000 new teachers will doubtless be carefully vetted for loyalty to Erdogan, but the real question is what happens to the 20,000 old teachers, since they have not only been sacked, but are all barred from leaving the country, since officials have labeled the whole of academia a potential “flight risk.”
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