Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Turkish government detains 55 police officers

Turkish authorities have arrested more than 55 police officers involved in a corruption probe targeting four former government ministers.

Turkish media reports say 40 serving and former top police officers were arrested in Istanbul, including the former head of the city's anti-terror unit. The rest were arrested in several other provinces.

Sources say the detained officers are suspected of forming an illegal gang, illegal wiretapping and fraud.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the corruption allegations that forced his ministers to resign were part of a coup attempt by followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Many of the officers were removed from their posts in government purging earlier this year.
Premier Erdogan says he will seek the extradition of Gulen, whom he accuses of plotting to topple his government with corruption accusations and damaging social media leaks.

Gulen’s Hizmet (Service) movement was an important supporter of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) when it came to power in 2002. The alliance, however, shattered after dozens of the prime minister’s political and business allies were arrested in police raids in a graft probe last December.

The scandal, which turned into a very serious challenge to Erdogan’s rule, brought down several ministers and led to a cabinet reshuffle.

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