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UN Rights Chief Criticizes New Turkey Purge

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein (file photo)

The UN high commissioner for human rights has voiced deep concern at mass arrests and firings of public employees in Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government dismissed more than 3,900 public officials over the weekend, in the latest purge since the failed coup attempt and two weeks after Erdogan narrowly won a referendum on enhancing his powers.

"With such a large number, it is highly unlikely these suspensions and detentions will have met due-process standards," UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told a May 1 news conference in Geneva.

Zeid also said he was "very concerned about the renewed state of emergency," which Turkey extended on April 18, saying the decision was made amid "a climate of fear in the country."

He said Ankara had to respond to terror attacks but must not violate human rights while doing so.

More than 120,000 people have been suspended or fired from their jobs in the state and private sectors, and more than 40,000 arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup last year.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP