Altınok: Turkish gov’t dismisses 22,987 police officers over alleged links to Gülen movement

Selami Altınok, the General Director of Turkish Police Department, has stated on Tuesday that 22,987 police officers have been dismissed from Turkish police department over their alleged links to the Gülen movement since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

According to a report by pro-government Karar daily on Tuesday, as a response to journalists’ questions, Altınok has announced that 22,987 police officers and police chiefs have been dismissed as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Altınok has also hinted that this number includes those police officers who were dismissed after corruption and bribery investigation that incriminated the ministers of AKP government and the family members of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on December 17/25, 2013.

Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been known to İstanbul police as “No. 1” in a 2013 corruption investigation, a witness testified Monday in New York, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.

Hüseyin Korkmaz, former İstanbul police officer who was arrested by corrupt Erdoğan regime in the aftermath of corruption operations in late 2013, said the investigation initially focused on the organization run by gold trader Reza Zarrab, but later grew to include dozens of others. He called Erdoğan the “No. 1” target in a group that also included Mehmet Zafer Çağlayan, the former economy minister, and Süleyman Aslan, ex-chief executive of Halkbank, a large Turkish state-owned bank, which was central to the scheme.

Zarrab was the prime suspect in a major corruption investigation in Turkey that became public in December 2013 and implicated the inner circle of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan. Zarrab was alleged to have paid Cabinet-level officials and bank officers bribes to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.

After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police officers were first reassigned and then dismissed, the investigation against Zarrab was dropped in Turkey.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 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.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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