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Erdogan Marks Anniversary Of Coup Attempt By Firing Thousands Of Employees

The Turkish government fired more than 7,000 police, civil servants and academics Friday ahead of the one-year anniversary of the failed coup attempt in the country.

More than 240 people were killed July 15, 2016 when soldiers attempted to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Some 50,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 government employees have been fired or suspended in the aftermath.

The Erdogan government dismissed 2,303 police officers in the latest crackdown on the eve of the one-year anniversary. Hundreds of retired officers and soldiers will also lose their ranks and grades.

Turkish authorities blames Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, for the coup. Gulen firmly denies any involvement, but he said he would voluntarily travel back to Turkey if the U.S. accepted an extradition request.

The Turkish opposition claims that Erdogan has used the coup to solidify his power and take freedom away from the people. A reported 1.5 million people attended a rally in Istanbul Sunday to protest the government’s recent actions.

“We walked for the non-existent justice,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the Republican People’s Party opposition leader, told the rally. “We walked for the rights of the oppressed, for the imprisoned lawmakers, the jailed journalists … We walked for the academics who were thrown out of universities.”

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