Fresh mass purges hit Ankara and İzmir police in wake of graft investigation
İZMİR – Doğan News Agency
Hundreds of police officers, including the highest echelons, have been either dismissed or relocated after the graft probe first broke on Dec. 17. DAILY NEWS photoA new mass purge of the police was launched on Jan. 22 as hundreds of police officers were relocated, in the latest fallout from a corruption probe targeting several top politicians and business leaders close to the government.
Around 470 police were sacked or reassigned in the capital Ankara alone, daily Hürriyet reported, while ongoing purges in the İzmir Police Department have reached the lower echelons of the force as two deputy police chiefs and 10 department heads have been relocated.
The head of the İzmir police forces, Ali Bilkay, was relocated two weeks ago, a day after police conducted raids at the city’s port as part of fraud investigations launched by the city’s prosecutor. The probe also engulfed a relative of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate for mayor in İzmir, ex-Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım.
The head of the financial crimes department, Matin Tuncer, who conducted the raids at the port, was also among the relocated officials, Doğan News Agency reported.
The purges, which have affected hundreds of police officers, have been interpreted as a tit-for-that response from the government for the graft investigations that implicated four ex-ministers and have affected almost all echelons of the Police Department.
The heads of the departments of Turkey’s two biggest cities – Istanbul and Ankara – were also dismissed following the graft scandal.
Up to 500 officers were relocated to new assignments on Jan. 15 while on Jan. 8, almost 350 officers working in key operational units at the Ankara Police Department were dismissed in one sweep.