22 detained at Kocaeli Police Department over alleged Gülen links

Twenty-two staff members at the Kocaeli Police Department were detained on Wednesday as part of an investigation targeting alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.

The Kocaeli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently issued detention warrants for a total of 29 people at the Kocaeli Police Department, 22 of whom were detained on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, after purging more than 40,000 members of the police force from their jobs since a failed coup in Turkey in July, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government will employ 2,500 new police officers, the pro-Edoğan Sabah daily reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, 250 of the 2,500 police officers will be women.

Last week, as part of a witch-hunt launched against the Gülen movement following the coup attempt on July 15, the Turkish government suspended 9,103 police officers and issued detention warrants for 4,900 members of the police force.

On Sunday the pro-government Yeni Şafak daily claimed that a new detention operation is underway targeting 13,000 police officers and civilians allegedly linked to the Gülen movement.

According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, 10,732 police officers have been jailed since July 15.

On March 30, speaking at the graduation ceremony of police officers who were recruited for training after July 15, Minister Soylu said they would hire 10,000 new police special forces members.

Some 10,000 people were accepted by the police academy last fall for training to become special forces members and subsequent employment without first checking the results of the centralized State Personnel Examination (KPSS).

The government has been criticized for using the failed coup attempt as an excuse to turn the police force into “party police” by dismissing thousands of police officers and employing others close to the party.

Last week, with a new state of emergency decree, known as a KHK, the Turkish government created a new neighborhood guard system that in the first phase will employ 7,000 people.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention. (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 3, 2017

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