News / Europe

Turkish PM Reassigns 350 Ankara Police

FILE - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference.
FILE - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference.
Dorian Jones
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired hundreds of police officers in what is considered to be the latest purge of police and prosecutors since an investigation  into alleged high-level government corruption. 

In Ankara, 350 police officers were sacked or reassigned after a government decree  issued at midnight Monday, local time. Hundreds of officers from neighboring towns will replace them. The move follows the launch of a major probe involving alleged rigged construction tenders and laundering of money from neighboring Iran. Three cabinet ministers ended up resigning following the detention of their sons.
 
But Erdogan has described the investigation as a dirty plot and part of international conspiracy to overthrow his government. Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Forum warns the deepening crisis threatens the stability of the country.
 
"As the judiciary as a key institution in a democratic country is completely upside down and there is a very serious chaos, actually," he said.
 
Among the hundreds removed is the Istanbul police chief and senior officers thought to be involved in the corruption probe, including the chief of financial investigations.
 
Government officials have accused followers of an Islamic group led by Fetullah Gulen, a former backer of Turkey's Islam-rooted government who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, of being behind the corruption investigation. Gulen has denied the allegation.
 
Asli Aydintasbas, a political columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, says it’s hard to judge the validity of the government's conspiracy claims.

"There is no doubt that this is part of this part of the power struggle between Gulenists and the government. And the Gulenists are influential in the judiciary and the police force," Aydintasbas said. " Except who are the Gulenists: do they take orders from Pennsylvania, where Fetullah Gulen lives, or is it just some sort of emotional spiritual guidance?"
 
A much wider purge of followers of Gulen could be in offing. A senior deputy of the ruling AK Party tweeted that the government has a list of 2,000 Gulen followers not only in the judiciary and police, but also among journalists, businessmen and academics. The government subsequently denied the existence of the list.
 
Political scientist Aktar claims the government now faces its most serious challenge since coming to power.
 
"It's one of the most serious crises," noted Aktar. "It's probably one of the biggest crises in the last 11 years, because it touches the very core of the key institutions of the regime and no one knows how the dust will settle."
 
For now, the mass dismissals of police and prosecutors appear to have brought the corruption probe to a halt. But political columnist Aydintasbas says the government remains mired in the graft allegations and is seeking to cover them up.

"Some of these allegations are very serious and cannot be ignored and, in the end, we are going to go to the ballots at the end of March for local elections," she noted, adding that Erdogan will be looking to upcoming elections for vindication. "It's going to be a referendum on Erdogan and his government. It's not going to be about local government; its going to be about Erdogan."
 
Observers say Erdogan will be buoyed by the knowledge that he faces what is still a largely ineffectual opposition. But the controversy surrounding the corruption investigation continues to hit the economy hard, with the Turkish currency plummeting to record lows this week. Still, it remains unclear who the public will ultimately blame for the crisis and its consequences.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid