Turkey fires 350 Ankara police officers


Turkey has dismissed 350 police officers in Ankara over a corruption scandal that has shaken the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey’s private Dogan News Agency said on Tuesday that the police officers, including heads of major departments, were fired overnight for their alleged role in a high-profile corruption investigation into the government.

It also said that the officers were sacked by a government decree issued at midnight.

Heads of financial crimes, anti-smuggling, cyber crime and organized crime units were among the fired officers.

The report added that the decree appointed replacements for 250 of the dismissed officers.

On January 4, Erdogan described the scandal as a “plot” against the country’s “future and stability”, saying that foreign-backed elements in Turkey are planning to oust his government.

Erdogan’s plot charges are in response to the inquiry that led to the arrests of government officials and prominent businessmen close to the government on December 17.

On December 25, 2013, Erdogan announced a major cabinet reshuffle replacing 10 ministers including the economy, interior, and environment ministers, who had resigned from their posts after their sons were arrested in the scandal.

The scandal has also affected the country’s economy with the currency, lira, at record lows against the dollar and the value of shares tumbling on the Istanbul stock exchange this week.

Erdogan has accused US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of instigating the corruption investigation.

Gulen is an influential figure in Turkey and reportedly has many followers in some arms of the country’s state apparatus such as the judiciary, the police and secret services.

Gulen has denied any involvement in Turkey’s recent political crisis.

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