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A Mind-Boggling Number Of People Are Being Punished For Turkey's Failed Coup

This week's epic purge — which has seen tens of thousands punished in one way or another — comes on the heels of Friday's failed coup attempt.

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More than 50,000 people have been suspended, fired, or detained by the Turkish government following a failed coup last week.

Adem Altan / AFP / Getty Images

The attempt to dislodge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to an end after Erdogan took to social media — which he has repeatedly attempted to block in Turkey — and called on Turkish citizens to resist the soldiers and army officers in the country's main cities. By early Saturday morning the government appeared to have regained control.

In the wake of the coup, the government has launched a massive crackdown on supposedly rebel elements within its military, police, judiciary, education, and civil service.

Turkey failed coup attempt: Over 6,000 people detained https://t.co/O99Qafx4Ck

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"The cleansing [operation] is continuing," Bekir Bozdag, the Turkish justice minister, said on Sunday.

Umit Bektas / Reuters

"Some 6,000 detentions have taken place" he said in a live address. "The number could surpass 6,000."

In the immediate aftermath of the coup, images emerged apparently showing Turkish citizens attacking soldiers who were reportedly part of the coup.

By Monday, the figure had spiraled: The country's state media reported that more than 8,000 officials had been suspended.

Chris Mcgrath / Getty Images

As many as 103 generals and admirals had been arrested, 2,389 soldiers had been detained; 2,745 judges and prosecutors had been detained, and 8,777 Interior Ministry officials had been suspended.

The mass purge was justified on the basis of accusations that those individuals had links to the group supposedly behind the failed coup.

On Tuesday, it continued: Some 15,200 people in the Ministry of Education were sacked for alleged ties to the group blamed by the government for the coup.

Umit Bektas / Reuters

The figure included 1,577 university deans, it was reported. The Associated Press said that 1,176 of those deans worked at public universities and 401 at private institutions.

Almost no section of the government seemed safe from the purge.

Turkey may not have a civil service left by August https://t.co/4YLfMj34PM

The state's intelligence service, MIT, suspended 100 people.

Elsewhere, 492 staff at the country's religious affairs department, the Diyanet, were dismissed. The sacked staff came from all levels within the governmental organisation, and included preachers, clerics, and religious leaders, a statement from the Diyanet said.

Licenses for 24 media organisations, including radio and TV channels, were also suspended.

These suspensions came on top of increasing numbers of soldiers and police officers being suspended. By the latest reckoning, 6,000 military personnel had been relieved of duty and nearly 9,000 police had been suspended.

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People calculated that the number of those suspended, arrested, or detained by Tuesday evening had reached 20,000.

13,000+ police, judiciary and civil servants removed from posts. (Some of whom arrested) 6,038 soldiers arrested. Together almost 20,000

But on Wednesday, the BBC reported that the number of people suspended or detained had leaped to more than 50,000.

It was reported that academics in the country had been banned from leaving Turkey, with annual leave cancelled. However, it later appeared that the government had not cancelled all leave, but only work-related trips abroad.

Turkey's state media also reported that a further 245 staff from the Ministry of Youth and Sports had been relieved of their duties. Earlier, approximately 2,000 people from the ministry had been suspended. Minister Akif Kilic told state TV during a live broadcast that these individuals had been removed from their work as part of a "parallel state probe."

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to Anadolu News, said 990 suspects arrested in the past few days had been formally charged. Of these, 82 are high-ranking military officers and 273 judges or members of the judiciary.

As the number of those suspended ratcheted up and up, international organizations and leaders expressed growing concern.

John Thys / AFP / Getty Images

The EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Federico Mogherini, stressed the "the importance of the rule of law" and told a meeting of the EU foreign ministers, “We need to have Turkey respect democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry “firmly” urged the Turkish government to respect democratic institutions. His words were echoed by his British counterpart, the newly installed Boris Johnson, who called for "restraint and moderation."

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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