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Hundreds of Turkish Police officers routed in midnight sweep

7 January 2014

In a midnight sweep of 350 officers at the Ankara Police department, a total of around 600 police officers are being reassigned to other districts. The move is the most radical action on the part of the Turkish government in response to an ongoing high-level corruption investigation, so reports Dogan news agency.

The 350 were reportedly working in units specialising in terrorism, intelligence, organised crimes, financial crimes, cybercrimes and smuggling. Around 80 of those dismissed were police chiefs while the others were officers working at lower ranks, it added. The sweep also included a deputy head of Ankara’s police forces.

Around 250 officers have reportedly replaced the relocated officers at the Ankara Police Department.

Two ex-ministers’ sons and the general manager of state-owned Halkbank are still being held in custody after the initiation of the corruption probe which was launched on 17th December.

In an act of retaliation by the government, police officers, including Istanbul Police Chief Huseyin Capkin, were sacked or moved to different position on 22nd December, last year.

The corruption investigation showed up the increasing conflict between the AKP, governing party and Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen, whose followers, it is said hold key offices inside the secret services, police and judiciary. These people are believed to be behind the investigation launch.

Prime Minister Erdogan and some other government officials have repeatedly claimed that there exists “a parallel state” within the police department and have pointed a finger at the judiciary, accusing it of plotting the investigation.

In a recent letter sent to President Abdullah Gul, Gulen strongly condemned the dismissal of “public workers who had no ties to the recent corruption,” at the same time, denying claims that he had influenced state activities or given directives to civil servants in an apparent response to Erdogan’s accusations.

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