Turkish government replaces dozens of police chiefs

Turkish government replaces dozens of police chiefs

Turkish government replaces dozens of police chiefs Turkey’s government has initiated a massive reshuffling in the Police Department, with a circular replacing dozens of provincial police chiefs.

As the circular for replacements went into force early Jan. 20, a wide operation into the so-called “parallel structure” – members of the Gülen movement that had allegedly infiltrated the judiciary and security forces – was also launched.

According to the Interior Ministry circular published in the Jan. 20 edition of the Official Gazette, police chiefs in 15 provinces were sent back to the National Police Department headquarters in Ankara, while new police chiefs have been assigned to 21 provinces.

Meanwhile, in four provinces, including Ankara, a police operation into “the parallel structure” has been launched. Arrest warrants have been given for some of the suspects being sought in the operation, Anadolu Agency said, without elaborating.

The two moves come shortly after Turkey witnessed yet more mass reshuffling in the judiciary, with the government replacing almost 1,000 judges and prosecutors, raising more question marks over the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) motives in the latest restructuring of the country’s top judicial body.

A decree replacing 784 judicial officers and 104 administrative officers employed in the judicial bodies was released by the 1st Chamber of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) late Jan. 15.

The judiciary has long been a key battleground between the government and what the AKP describes as the “parallel state” affiliated to the Fethullah Gülen movement.

Prosecutors and judges who were involved in controversial cases, which opposition parties said were actually used by the government as tools for its revanchist moves in cooperation with its former ally, U.S.-based Islamic scholar Gülen, were notably sent from the metropolitan city of Istanbul to less central provinces.

According to Jan. 20 circular, police chiefs in the provinces of Artvin, Bartın, Bitlis, Burdur, Bursa, Edirne, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Kars, Mersin, Muş, Ordu, Osmaniye, Uşak and Yalova were recalled to headquarters pending reassignment to other posts.