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EU Says Turkey's Mass Firings Of Teachers, Judges 'Unacceptable'

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildrim (C) visits damaged parts of the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey on July 19.

The European Union has expressed "concern" over Turkey's jailing or firing of thousands of people suspected of involvement in a failed coup attempt and urged the country to respect human rights and the rule of law.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 21 declared a three-month emergency to strengthen state powers to arrest suspected coup participants while firing or suspending over 60,000 people he says were coup sympathizers in schools, universities, the police, military, and the judiciary.

"We are following the developments...very closely and with concern," said a joint statement by the bloc's foreign affair's chief, Federica Mogherini, and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn on July 22.

They called the targeting of teachers, judges, and journalists in particular "unacceptable" and said Turkey should respect "rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms, including the right of all individuals concerned to a fair trial."

The EU call came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in a phone call to conduct "investigations into the coup's ways that reinforce public confidence in democratic institutions and the rule on law."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP