Six heads of organized crime unit dismissed as hundreds relocated in new police purges
The purges at the Police Department have been interpreted as a tit-for-that response from the government for the graft investigations. DAILY NEWS photoThe Turkish government’s massive purges at the Police Department following a damaging graft probe continued with a fresh wave of relocations on Jan. 15.
Six heads at the smuggling and organized crime unit (KOM) of the Police Department were dismissed overnight as 500 officers have been relocated to new assignments. The head of the unit that played key roles in conducting wide-scale investigations had already been relocated in a previous wave of the purge. The institution’s website has reportedly crashed due to overload as the members of the police who have been relocated rushed to computers to learn their new assignments.
The Ankara Police Department was again the target of the purge as six deputy police chiefs were also dismissed Jan. 15, three of whom were only recently appointed following the graft probe.
The new relocations come as two heads of anti-terror units who conducted an operation against al-Qaeda and raids against a local branch of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) charity were dismissed on Jan. 14.
The purges 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.
Many have suggested the movement of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is the target of the purges. His Hizmet (Service) movement has been repeatedly accused by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of orchestrating the graft probes through its members who are known to hold key position in the police and judiciary.
The heads of the departments of the three big cities – Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir – were all dismissed following the graft scandal.
In a second wave of the purge on Jan. 8, almost 350 officers working in key operational units at the Ankara police were dismissed in one sweep.
Relocations have also hit the bureaucracy, as top officials at the finance and education ministries have been replaced.