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Turkey Purges 4,000 Officials and Blocks Wikipedia

Jocelyn Reeder, reporter

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On April 30th, the Turkish Government expanded its crackdown on dissent and free expression over the weekend, purging nearly 4,000 more public officials, blocking access to Wikipedia, and banning television matchmaking shows. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Edrogen may ease the crack and build greater national consensuses after his narrow victory in a recent referendum to expand his power in office.

According to New York Times, a total of 3,974 civil servants were fired on Saturday from several ministries and judicial bodies, and 45 civil society groups and health clinics were shut down. Turkish internet users also woke up on Saturday to find that they no longer had access to Wikipedia. An estimate of 140,000 people have now been purged from the state and private sectors. More than 1,500 civil groups closed. Turkey Police had detained more than 1,000 workers and suspended a further 9,000 accused of having ties to an Islamic group founded by a United States-based cleric, Fethullan Gulen.

The crackdown also affected leftists, liberals and members of the secular opposition across most sections of public life, many who have voiced their opinion to the Gulen movement. According to NYT,  it is not exactly clear why Wikipedia was targeted. The government justified the ban by claiming that the site’s articles constituted “a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena.”

Other restrictions announced this past weekend was, the government decreed that television channels could no longer broadcast dating programs, a staple on Turkish daytime TV. “Some of these shows are really out of control. They are against our family values, culture, faith, and traditions” reported Numan Kurtulmus, a deputy prime minister.

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Turkey Purges 4,000 Officials and Blocks Wikipedia