-- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency, less than a week after a failed military coup attempted to remove his government from power.
The president said that the measure is being taken to counter threats to Turkish democracy and is not intended to curb basic freedoms, according to The Associated Press.
The announcement comes as the government is in the process of a massive crackdown. The Board of Higher Education yesterday demanded the resignation of 1,577 deans from every university in the country, according to state-run Turkish media.
The Ministry of Education also fired 15,200 teachers because of suspected ties to organizers of the coup, according to The AP.
The education sector is the latest to be affected by the government purge. Close to 9,000 people have already been rounded up for alleged involvement in the coup attempt, The AP reported, and 50,000 civil service employees have been fired in the purge.
Turkish authorities have largely blamed the coup attempt on U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish prime minister announced yesterday that Turkey has formally requested extradition of the cleric from the United States.
Human rights group Amnesty International issued a strong condemnation of the government crackdown, alleging that many of those detained have been ill-treated in custody and denied access to lawyers.
“The sheer number of arrests and suspensions since Friday is alarming and we are monitoring the situation very closely. The coup attempt unleashed appalling violence and those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights abuses must be brought to justice, but cracking down on dissent and threatening to bring back the death penalty are not justice,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia said in a statement.