Turkey: Istanbul police chief dismissed
Istanbul Police Headquarters in Fatih are seen on December 18 ,2013 in Istanbul. Turkish police detained more than 20 people including the sons of three cabinet ministers and several high-profile businessmen. [AFP]
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After police launched raids Thursday which ended in the detention of dozens of people, Istanbul’s most senior police official was dismissed. The massive corruption and bribery investigation has exposed the sons of three prominent government ministers who threatened Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government as elections approached.
Police Chief Huseyin Capkin confirmed that he had been removed from his post and recalled to the capital, Ankara as reported by Al Arabiya news.
In what opposition parties are calling a scandal cover up, the government has dismissed dozens of other police officials in Ankara and Istanbul - including some who oversaw the police raids and investigation.
On Tuesday, police detained 51 people for questioning, the mayor of an Istanbul district and the CEO of a state-owned. After questioning on Wednesday, nine of them were released without charges.
Insisting that the investigations are merely a probe to harm his government’s reputation and Erdogen has promised to go after the forces he says have instigated the plot. His government, which is entering into its 11th year, has won three elections with the focus on the strength of Turkey’s robust economy and also by modeling a clean image.
What is looking like a vote of confidence in the government, Turkey will hold local elections in March.
The government promised not to impede the investigation, despite the police officials’ removal. In efforts to ease the stress on the people, the government has appointed two new prosecutors to lead the investigation.
Many believe this corruption investigation was started by a movement led by a U.S.-based Turkish Muslim cleric, who was once a supporter of Erdogan’s government. He now seems to be in a dispute with the Turkish leader.
The movement is said to have strong ties within Turkey’s police and judiciary. The cleric, Fetullah Gulen, has denied that he was involved in the investigation focused on Erdogan’s allies.