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Turkey sacks 18,000 ahead of expected end to emergency rule

Decree dismisses 6,152 personnel from army, air force and navy and 8,998 police officers
The state of emergency has been renewed seven times. The latest period is due to end on 19 July (AFP)

Turkish authorities have issued a decree to dismiss more than 18,000 civil servants, half of whom were from the police force, ahead of this month's expected lifting of a two-year-old state of emergency imposed after an attempted coup in July 2016.

Sunday's decree follows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's victory in June's presidential election and comes before he swears his oath of office on Monday, inaugurating a powerful executive presidency.

The country's Official Gazette said that a total of 6,152 personnel from the army, air force and navy had been sacked, as well as 8,998 police officers.

More than 1,000 civil servants and 199 academics from universities across the country were also among those dismissed. At least three newspapers, a television channel and several associations also shut down.

The decree also said 148 employees who were previously sacked had been reinstated.

The state of emergency has been renewed seven times, and the latest period is due to formally end on 19 July.

Turkish authorities had already dismissed around 160,000 civil servants since the failed military intervention, the UN human rights office said in March.

Among those detained, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during their trials, the Reuters news agency reported.

Critics of Erdogan, who had said he would quickly end the state of emergency if he was re-elected, accuse him of using the failed coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

Turkey says the measures are aimed at removing supporters of Fethullah Gulen, who it says was behind the coup attempt, from state institutions and other parts of society and to combat threats to national security.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the US, has denied any involvement in the coup, in which more than 200 people were killed.