Opposition MP admits post-coup purge of bureaucrats carried out with no solid evidence

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu (L) and opposition lawmaker Aytun Çıray (by Kronos news website)

An opposition lawmaker who was a member of a commission formed to investigate an attempted coup in 2016 has said a post-coup purge of members of Turkey’s bureaucracy and police force was not due to concrete evidence but rather was based on which minister was in office when they were appointed, Turkish Minute reported.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared a state of emergency following an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 that remained in effect until July 19, 2018. During the state of emergency the AKP carried out a purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight by issuing a number of government decrees, purging more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs due to their real or alleged connections to “terrorist organizations.”

Aytun Çıray, İYİ (Good) Party MP and chief advisor to Chairwoman Meral Akşener, who was a member of the parliamentary Coup Investigation Commission at the time, has stated in a series of tweets that the post-coup purge of members of Turkey’s bureaucracy and police force was carried out by determining during which minister’s term in office they were appointed.

Çıray said during his time at the commission he asked “famous and experienced retired police chiefs and generals” how to purge members of FETÖ from the police force and was told that as a starting point, any governors, directors or bureaucrats appointed by former Interior Minister by İdris Naim Şahin should be removed from their positions.

“I communicated this verbally and in writing to [Interior Minister] Süleyman Soylu. … He dismissed them from their positions,” Çıray added.

Şahin served as interior minister between July 2011 and January 2013 following which he parted ways with the AKP due to a series of disagreements.

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup in 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Çıray’s revelations came as part of criticism of Şahin’s nomination by the İYİ Party for a parliamentary seat from the Black Sea province of Ordu in the parliamentary elections of May 14, where he is likely to win.

Çıray, who has recently withdrawn from the candidate list of his party in protest of the list, said he was shocked to learn about the nomination of Şahin from his party, implying that he has links to the Gülen movement.

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