Opposition says police department probe could spread to military

Opposition says police department probe could spread to military

Opposition says police department probe could spread to military

Former vice president of the Financial Crime department of the Istanbul police, Kazim Aksoy (C), ahs been detained as part of a criminal probe. AFP Photo

A purge of the military command by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will take place at an upcoming meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), the main opposition party has suggested.

The recent mass detentions at several Turkish police departments is “an operation to draw attention away from the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption investigation,” Akif Hamzaçebi, the deputy parliamentary group chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on July 24.

His use of the word “zeroing” was an apparent reference to a recording of an alleged conversation between Erdoğan and his son Bilal, leaked in the aftermath of the huge graft probe late last year. The recording supposedly revealed Erdoğan and his son Bilal discussing how to reduce illegal funds to “zero” by distributing them among several businesspersons.

“They first tried to zero the money, then the judiciary, and now the police. During the Council meeting on Aug. 30, they will try to zero the military. This is the program and project of Erdoğan,” Hamzaçebi said at a press conference at Parliament.

The YAŞ meeting is scheduled to be held from Aug. 4 to 6, before the first round of presidential elections on Aug. 10, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will run against Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and Selahattin Demirtaş.

Decisions made at the YAŞ summer meetings, including the retirement and promotion of members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), customarily go into effect from Aug. 30.

On the first day of the operation on July 22, dozens of senior police officers deemed to be linked to the Fethullah Gülen movement, or what the government calls the “parallel state,” were detained on the grounds of espionage and illegal wiretapping, with Erdoğan indicating that the probes would be widened.

“That is what it seems like, of course, of course,” Erdoğan responded when asked by reporters whether the current operation would spread into other institutions.

At another press conference also on July 24, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli was asked to comment on Erdoğan’s remarks on the probability of “a spread into other institutions.” Bahçeli sarcastically responded that “Erdoğan should swiftly continue these operations,” suggesting that they would eventually land Erdoğan into trouble.