The crowds chanted slogans against the government's use of power to purge not only those with suspected links to terror organizations but also its opponents. (AFP photo)
ISTANBUL, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of people in Istanbul and Ankara protested on Friday against the latest purge of 330 academics from universities across the country over their alleged links to terror organizations.
Around 500 protestors, mostly academicians and students, gathered in front of the main entrance to Istanbul's prestigious Bogazici University to say "no" to the government's ongoing crackdown against scholars, rejecting the dismissals as "unfair and illegitimate."
The crowds chanted slogans against the government's use of power to purge not only those with suspected links to terror organizations but also its opponents.
The academics purged lately were among 4,464 public workers expelled on Tuesday under a new statutory decree issued amid the state of emergency imposed soon after a failed coup in July last year.
In Ankara, the national capital, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the dismissed academics, who staged a protest at an Ankara University building to denounce the government decree, local media reported.
Some of the academics were sacked over their suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric who is accused of being behind the failed coup, while others were targeted for signing a petition calling for renewed peace talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), press reports said.
The so-called Gulen Movement established by Gulen and the PKK have been branded as terror groups by Ankara.
Some 140,000 people have been detained or dismissed from their posts in the purge launched in the wake of the coup attempt, mostly from the military, police, judiciary, government agencies and schools.