Turkish Airlines fires 211 staff over ‘Gulen links’ after failed coup

  • AFP, Istanbul
  • Updated: Jul 26, 2016 01:24 IST
A woman shouts slogans as she waves a Turkish flag during an anti-coup rally in Taksim square in Istanbul. (AP)

Turkish Airlines said Monday it had fired 211 employees over suspected links to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and behaviour “conflicting with the interest of our country” in the wake of last week’s coup.

The flag carrier said their contracts were terminated due to “the non-fulfillment of performance criteria and in line with the necessary actions we are taking against the FETO structure, attitudes and behaviour conflicting with the interest of our country and company”.

The authorities accuse 75-year-old Gulen of running a group it labels the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) that was behind the coup, and Ankara has demanded that Washington extradite him.

The preacher -- who lives in a secluded compound in rural Pennsylvania and whose foundation runs a global network of schools, charities and media interests -- has strongly denied the accusations against him.

In a statement signed by the airline’s media relations unit, Turkish Airlines stressed that it stands “united with all of the heroic and honourable Turkish people” against the coup plotters’ “malevolent illegal attempt”.

“Under any circumstances, we have and will continue to fulfil our responsibility to contribute to democracy.”

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