Turkey bans academics from going abroad

Turkey has temporarily banned all academics from travelling abroad, officials say.

The move follows last week’s failed coup and comes amid a wide-ranging purge of state employees.

More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended, including about 21,000 teachers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is chairing meetings of his national security council and cabinet in the capital, Ankara.

It is the first time since he has returned to the city after the attempted coup on Friday.

The BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Ankara says that the meeting will be the president’s first chance since the coup attempt to sit and talk in person with all key members of the government and armed forces.

Mr Erdogan’s task is to re-impose stability amid the turmoil, our correspondent adds, and to reassure Turkey and its allies abroad that he is not embarking on a witch-hunt against his many critics.

So far about 1,577 university deans (faculty heads) have been asked to resign in addition to 21,000 teachers and 15,000 education ministry officials.

As soon as it became clear that the coup had failed, the purges began – first with the security forces, then spreading to Turkey’s entire civilian infrastructure.

Turkey extended the clear-out to the education sector because it says it wants to root out supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who it accuses of organising the attempted putsch.

The Higher Education Council has asked university rectors to “urgently examine the situation of all academic and administrative personnel” linked to what it calls the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (Feto) and report back by 5 August.

It has also told universities that academics who are already abroad on work or study missions should return home “within the shortest possible time”.

A government official told the Reuters news agency that the ban on academics travelling abroad was a temporary measure implemented to stop alleged coup plotters in universities from fleeing abroad.