ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Five Turkish police commissioners were sacked a day after the sons of cabinet ministers and prominent businessmen close to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan were detained in a corruption probe, a local news agency said on Wednesday.
The heads of five departments in the Istanbul police force, including its financial crimes, organized crime and smuggling units, were removed from their posts, the Dogan news agency said, without identifying its sources.
Police declined to comment on the report.
Scores of people including the sons of three cabinet ministers and several well-known businessmen were detained on Tuesday in a corruption inquiry led by the financial crimes unit, in what was widely seen as a challenge to Erdogan.
The headquarters of state-run Halkbank were searched and the general manager of Turkey’s largest housing developer, the partly state-owned Emlak Konut GYO, was summoned by police.
Turkish commentators linked the sweep to powerful U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers have long held influential positions in institutions from the police and secret services to the judiciary and Erdogan’s AK Party.
Gulen has helped Erdogan’s AK Party win a growing vote in three elections since 2002, but a bitter row between the two in recent weeks risks fracturing their support base before local and presidential elections next year.
Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Elizabeth Piper