Turkey removes another 25 police chiefs over graft inquiry: media

ANKARA Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:25am EST

1 of 4. A woman holds a sign that reads ''There is a thief'' as protesters demonstrate against Turkey's ruling Ak Party (AKP) and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara December 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have removed another 25 police chiefs from their posts, media reported, widening a crackdown on the force since it launched a corruption investigation that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called a "dirty operation" against his rule.

Erdogan accused "international groups" and "dark alliances" on Saturday of encouraging the graft investigations and signaled the purge of people behind it would continue.

The furore has roiled markets and exposed deep rifts between Erdogan and his former ally Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Islamic preacher who wields influence in the police and judiciary.

Twenty-four people have been formally arrested under the corruption investigation, including the sons of two government ministers and the general manager of state-owned Halkbank. Scores have also been detained.

In response, about 70 police officers, including the powerful head of Istanbul's force, have now been sacked or moved to different posts since the detention of bribery suspects began last week.

Erdogan's position is under no immediate threat, but the row between his ruling AK Party and Gulen's Hizmet movement could help decide local elections due in March.

The prime minister said on Saturday the crackdown on people behind the corruption investigation would continue.

"Those who want to establish a parallel structure alongside the state, those who have infiltrated into the state institutions ... we will come into your lairs and we will lay out these organizations within the state," he said in a speech in the northern city of Ordu.

Erdogan has refrained from naming Gulen, but years of disagreements between the two men spilled out into the open last month over a government plan to abolish private "Prep" schools, including those run by Hizmet.

The schools, part of a network with global reach, are an important source of revenue and bedrock of Hizmet's influence.

One of the first moves by Istanbul's new police chief, Selami Altinok, was to ban journalists from entering police stations across the country, local media reported on Sunday.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (2)
Neslihan wrote:
Some local columnists here (in Turkey) attribute Erdogan’s reaction to this whole situation -the crackdown on the police, the gag on the press- only to behavioral reasons such as hubris, delusional ego, voter confidence etc.

But this overall cover for his cabinet actually has a very material aspect. If those cabinet ministers are thrown under the bus and feel betrayed, this whole thing will truly climb.

All this “dark alliances” talk is calculated discourse. Both he and Gulen are seasoned Imams; powerful orators. Gulen has already started the “May flames be Upon Their Homes!” phase.

Dec 22, 2013 6:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
Mishrac44 wrote:
Is this the start of Ergodans dictatorship? Does Turkey fall by the wayside? I think so….

Dec 22, 2013 9:11am EST  --  Report as abuse
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