Turkey, more post-coup purges: 103 academics arrested, two mayors expelled

The Istanbul judiciary has issued an arrest warrant for a hundred teachers from the Technical University of Yildiz. They are accused of sympathizing with the Islamic preacher Gülen. In Mardin, in the southeast of the country, two mayors removed on charges of corruption. One of them is an Aramean Christian woman. Both have been replaced by an official close to Ankara.


Istanbul (AsiaNews) - This morning the Turkish judiciary issued an arrest warrant against 103 university professors from a university in Istanbul. The measure is part of the context of the investigation launched by the authorities against (alleged) members and sympathizers of the movement headed by the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

According to the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government he is the mastermind of the coup which killed 270 people, with thousands injured.

According to reports from the television channel NTV, the ongoing inquiry concerns the Technical University of Yildiz.

A report published in Hurriyet newspaper says at least 70 teachers have already been arrested. The operation involves several teams of police and security agents, located in different points of the metropolis. More arrests are expected later in the day.

In the aftermath of the failed coup d’État in Turkey last July, President Erdogan and the Turkish government have launched a campaign of repression against its alleged perpetrators. These include supporters of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, believed to have masterminded the coup that left 270 people dead, and thousands wounded.

Thus far, Turkish authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people, including teachers, soldiers, intellectuals, opposition politicians, businessmen, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens.

Government repression has been particularly ferocious against the most important pro-Kurdish opposition party, the People’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose leaders were recently arrested.

Yesterday, on the orders of the Turkish Ministry for the Interior, police deposed and removed Ahmet Turk and Februniye Akyol, the two co-mayors of Mardin, a city in the southeast of the country in an area inhabited by Turks, Arabs and Kurds.

Local sources said that police notified them of the termination of their mandate, forcibly removing them from their office.  The city has been entrusted pro tempore to the governor of Mardin, Mustafa Yaman.

Februniye Akyol is of Aramean origin and was the first female Christian Aramean in Turkish history to be elected and hold a high administrative office, in spite of her religion and ethnicity. Today she was set to attend a public meeting in Italy, to speak about the condition of Aramaic communities, women and Christians in the Middle East in the context of the review "Many faiths under the same sky."

According to the indictment - although there is no evidence - the two senior municipal officials are under investigation for corruption and embezzlement. Local sources said that the charges are just an excuse to remove them and replace them with an official welcome to the central government.