Fresh purge within Turkish police hits 27 province chiefs, senior intel officers
Hundreds of police officers have been relocated since a massive graft probe started in December 2013. DAILY NEWS photoThe Turkish government launched yet another wave of purges within the police on Feb. 13, relocating the police chiefs of 27 provinces and three deputy heads of the national police department.
Some 50 senior officers at the police intelligence institution have also been relieved of their duties, daily Hürriyet also reported.
The reassigned officials included the chief of the İzmir police Sami Uslu who had been appointed only one month prior to replace Ali Bilkay, who was himself dismissed in a previous wave of purges. Uslu was assigned to the Passports Department, according to the official gazette and will be replaced by former deputy head of the national police department, Celal Uzunkaya.
Almost all of the new police chiefs are former chief inspectors, Hürriyet reported.
The heads of the departments of Turkey’s two largest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, were also dismissed in the wake of the massive graft scandal in mid-December.
The purge also included the former head and deputy of the prime minister’s bodyguard unit.
The government, which has been accusing a “parallel state” linked to the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has responded with vast purges within the police and the judiciary, launching massive reshuffles that have affected all-echelons.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended the moves, stressing the legal basis to conduct them.
“If someone has done wrong, we are not obliged to maintain their positions. They have to render account of their misconduct,” Erdoğan has recently said during an interview with al-Jazeera.