I'm asking this because most (Western) news stories on the topic are rather opaque, along the lines of "X thousands of state employees in sector Y" got purged. Granted, there are so many of these stories and the sector Y so varied that there may not be a single/simple account of how these purges are performed. Some details I'm curious about:

  • What's the (usual) official reason invoked for the firing and where does it get communicated? I know that some of those fired (especially initially, 2016) were also arrested on charges of supporting the coup or terrorism charges. But I understand that not all those purged are arrested. So what's the dismissal reason who those who are not arrested? Sympathies with "terrorists"?

  • Why do the purges come in waves rather than a trickle? Who compiles the lists? Is it always the same security organization... or is it a more distributed enterprise? E.g. are the bosses of various state-run enterprises asked to compile the lists or do the lists "come from above"?

Ok, it looks like the waves are actually official decrees. For the last big one:

Turkey on Sunday issued a decree dismissing more than 18,000 civil servants, half of which 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.

The decree dismissed 199 academics from universities across the country, as well as more than 5,000 personnel from the armed forces.

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

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

Do the Turkish authorities really wait until thousands of undesirables pile-up on a list? Or are these people actually fired or at least suspended (well) before the list gets published?

  • 2
    I haven't been able to find who compiles the lists or how exactly people are chosen(it's likely not public), but here is an English version of the various decrees used as the legal basis for them. Basically, they say anyone 'having membership, relation or connection with the FETÖ/PYD' can have their everything taken away, and are broad enough to include pretty much whoever they want.
    – Giter
    Aug 7, 2018 at 14:29
  • 1
    @Giter: that's from 2016; my impression is that the EU has been much less keen to investigate anything in Turkey after striking a deal on Syrian asylum seekers... which is probably why finding much else is so hard. Aug 7, 2018 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


I'll begin by stating that the details regarding this issue are highly classified, and corruption and arresting for personal and political gain are very common. For instance, in smaller communities, those with known ties to the Gulen movement or other charities are more likely to be reported by other citizens, with the imprisoned having a much slower and difficult appeal case in courts. I've heard of cases where people were reported by others solely for personal gain.

Typically, people are arrested in large numbers, probably for more media coverage and intimidation. Turkish authorities also flag people on their systems at airports, passport-renewal systems, and police stations so that people who are flagged can be arrested or have their passports taken away when visiting aforementioned institutions.

However, people who are arrested together often have court trials together, and can be released at the same date. (Turkish news article of 71 people being arrested and tried together). I personally know of a specific case where someone was arrested alone after a group of Gulenists were arrested for the same charges the day before, but was not released after the group was released. Here is more information regarding the slow appeal process and overworked courts.

Also, the reason for it seeming like officials are waiting for lists to "pile up" is because Turkish prisons are overflowing with imprisoned people since 2015.

Note: Some of the things I said cannot be supported with any official documents/proof. Much of what I know is through personal experience.

  • Can you try adding some more sources to support your answers? Even non-official reports from news outlets can be very helpful.
    – JJJ
    Jun 18, 2019 at 20:32
  • 1
    @JJJ Added more sources. Jun 18, 2019 at 20:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .