Turkish army to hire over 40,000 personnel: state media

The Turkish army will hire nearly 43,000 new personnel in 2018, according to state media, after thousands of staff were dismissed in purges following the July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Anadolu Agency on Tuesday quoted an unnamed military official as saying that the new recruits would include 3,755 officers and 5,375 non-commissioned staff.

According to the report, the forces will also hire 13,213 specialised sergeants and 20,595 contracted officers.

Turkey accuses Fethullah Gulen, a religious leader who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, and his group of orchestrating the coup attempt, which killed around 300 people and led to massive purges, including in the military and other state institutions.

Since July 2016, tens of thousands of people, including civil servants and security personnel, have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs or jailed pending trial.

The government says the purges and detentions are aimed at removing Gulen’s supporters from state institutions and other parts of society.

Turkey criticised
Local and international rights groups, as well as many of Turkey’s European allies, say the arrests and purges are arbitrary, claiming that the government is using the coup attempt as a pretext to silence opposition in the country.

The military official told Anadolu that a total of 8,565 personnel have been expelled for links to Gulen’s group following the failed coup.

These personnel reportedly include 150 generals, 4,630 officers, 2,167 non-commissioned officers, 1,210 specialised sergeants and contracted soldiers and 411 civil servants and workers.

In addition, 16,409 military students have been expelled for alleged links to Gulen’s network, according to a statement made by Defence Minister Fikri Isik a year ago.