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EU concerns over security after Turkey’s police purge

10 January 2014

Diplomats from EU countries have raised concerns over the mass removal of police officers of all ranks in Turkey and how it will affect international security cooperation.

Countries which are cooperating with Turkish police on international security matters are wondering how the recent replacements in the Interior and Justice Ministries, because of the recent corruption investigations, will influence international security monitoring.

Hundreds of high ranking officers have been replaced and a senior EU diplomat has said that:

“All of the changes and uncertainties create concerns that our cooperation in the future may slow down.” He explained that, “for instance, in terms of the fight against terrorism. We have concerns to ensure cooperation on the issue of foreign fighters in Syria continues.”

On 8th Jan, the EU expressed concern about developments in Turkey where the government is embroiled in a high-level corruption scandal, and which, in retaliation, it ordered a purge of police officers of all ranks.

“The recent steps [removing, reassigning or firing police officers and investigators] are a matter of concern,” said a Commission statement.

“We urge Turkey, as a candidate country committed to the political criteria of accession, including the application of the rule of law, to take all the necessary measures to ensure that allegations of wrongdoing are addressed without discrimination or preference in a transparent and impartial manner,” said the statement, adding that any action which undermines the effectiveness of investigations into these allegations should be avoided.

Nearly 600 police officers, along with prosecutors, were replaced after an investigation into high-level corruption shook the government on 17th December, when 24 people were arrested as part of the massive corruption investigation, including the sons of former Interior Minister Muammer Guler and former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan.

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