Europe

Turkey corruption inquiry: More senior police 'fired'

  • 20 December 2013
  • From the section Europe
Shoe boxes thrown by protesters remain outside the entrance of a Halkbank bank branch in Istanbul during a demonstration march against corruption (19 December 2013)
Anti-corruption protesters left shoeboxes at a branch of Halkbank after boxes full of cash were reportedly found at the bank's boss's home after his arrest

At least 14 further senior police officials have been removed from their posts in Turkey, according to reports.

The dismissals are the latest round of police sackings following mass raids in a corruption inquiry on Tuesday.

On Thursday the head of Istanbul's police was forced from his position.

Meanwhile eight of the more than 50 detained in Tuesday's dawn operations have been formally arrested following court hearings in Istanbul. More court appearances are taking place.

The raids in Istanbul and Ankara were carried out as part of an inquiry into alleged bribery involving public tenders.

More than 30 senior police officers have reportedly been sacked since then.

'Dirty operation'

The corruption investigation has targeted people close to the administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including three sons of cabinet ministers.

Mr Erdogan has denounced the inquiry as a "dirty operation" against his government.

The sons of Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar were among those detained.

The head of Istanbul's police, Huseyin Capkin (R), was dismissed on Thursday

Commentators in Turkey report that the arrests and firings reflect a feud within Turkey's ruling AK Party between those who back Mr Erdogan and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar living in exile in the US.

Members of Mr Gulen's Hizmet movement are said to hold influential positions in institutions such as the police, the judiciary and the AK Party itself.

Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has accused Mr Erdogan and his government of trying to cover up the scandal.

Mr Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party, called for ministers implicated in the investigation to be sacked.

The European Union has urged Turkey - which hopes to join the EU - to ensure the impartiality of its judicial process.

"These developments have naturally raised our attention and we follow them closely," said a spokesman for Stefan Fule, the EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, on Thursday.

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