Turkish gov’t purges more than 22,000 from police force following coup attempt

Yılmaz Çolak, president of Turkey’s Police Academy, said on Friday that more than 22,000 police officers had been dismissed from the job as part of a purge in the Turkish police force following a failed coup last year.

Speaking during a conference in Antalya, Çolak said 12,000 police officers are still under suspension over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Çolak said there are currently 23,000 police cadets in training at the Turkish police schools, 22,000 of them police officers and 1,000 deputy police inspectors. He also added 2,200 more deputy inspectors would soon be enrolled at the academy for training.

Meanwhile, İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 115 people from 328 schools and dormitories that were earlier shut down over alleged links to the Gülen movement on Friday. It was reported that police detained 53 of 115 people during operations in 15 provinces. Some of the suspects are accused of having used a smart phone application known as ByLock and some of having deposited money into the Bank Asya which was also closed over alleged ties with the Gülen movement.

Detention warrants were also issued for 44 people by the Ordu Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday over accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock. Police detained 32 of the 44 people in Ordu province as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the faith-based Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and housemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Five people were detained in Turkey’s border province of Edirne while they were on their way to escape to the Greece on Friday. Detainees, among them a woman, had outstanding arrest warrants as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. Gendarmerie rounded up the suspects near the Uyuklu village in Edirne.Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to the witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 809 people have been detained in one week due to alleged links to the movement. The ministry announced on Oct. 2 that 998 people had been detained the previous week.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling 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’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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