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Turkey Seeks to Arrest 271 Officers in Post-Election Crackdown

Turkey’s prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 271 military officers, including 122 on-duty officers, over alleged ties to Gulen Movement, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.

It also added prosecutors seek arrests of 346 people in total on links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen’s group.

The crackdown on government critics and perceived sympathizers of Gulen Movement have shown no signs of receding in the aftermath of presidential and parliamentary elections.

Eren Erdem, a lawmaker from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was arrested last week as part of a previous arrest warrant.

Next week, both President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and new cabinet are set to begin their new terms after Turkey made a transition to the executive presidential system. Today, the Turkish government issued latest decree, dwelling on powers emanating from the state of emergency.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, whose post will be consigned to the dustbin of history with the new system, said the state of emergency will be lifted on July 18 when its extension expires.

But critics harbor well-founded concerns that the new cabinet would still possess immense powers even if the emergency rules comes to an end. Both President Erdogan and Yildirim hinted that the latest decree, which was scheduled to be released late on Friday night, entrusts the government with broad powers to combat terrorism more effectively after the end of the emergency regime.

Yildirim noted that there will be many new dismissals from the public service with the latest decree, but the majority of them would be from the Turkish military and police, signaling a new wave of purge. Already, more than 160,000 public workers, including generals and police officers, have been dismissed.

According to a report appeared on the Cumhuriyet daily, the government envisages turning some of the emergency decrees into permanent laws. While the government justifies its design of the new decree as fighting terrorism, the opposition and critics believe that the government will dwell upon wide-ranging powers to stifle dissent and crack down on political opponents.

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