Police raid anti-Erdogan rally in Istanbul
Police in Istanbul have fired tear gas at protesters angry with the results of a recent referendum which gives President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers.
Participants at the Sunday rally denounced the results of the April 16 referendum that will replace the Turkish republic’s parliamentary form of government with a strong presidency.
The powers include the head of state’s ability to hire and fire at will, prompting Amnesty International on Monday to accuse Ankara of implementing “arbitrary dismissals”.
In a report, the UK-based rights body criticized the expulsions, which it said were “carried out arbitrarily on the basis of vague and generalized grounds of connection to terrorist organisations.”
It was referring to what critics denounce as an overused tactic by the governmen to accuse suspects of links to Kurdish separatists and US-based cleric Fetullah Gulen, whom Ankara says was behind a coup last July.
Erdogan has been riding a wave of patriotism after quashing the coup, holding around 47,000 people in detention and summarily dismissing more than 100,000 public sector employees.
According to Amnesty, of those dismissed more than 33,000 are teachers and other employees of the Education Ministry while over 24,000 are police officers and others from the Interior Ministry.
Over 8,000 are members of the armed forces, more than 5,000 are academics and include those working in the higher education sector as well as over 4,000 judges, prosecutors and justice ministry officials, the group said.