Turkey’s deputy police chief was sacked overnight Tuesday,
the most senior commander yet targeted in the purge of a force heavily
influenced by a cleric Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of plotting
to seize the levers of state power.
Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and
Development Party) sent plans to parliament allowing government more say over
appointment of prosecutors and judges. He argued that a judiciary and police in
the sway of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s Hizmet (“The Service”) movement contrived a
graft investigation that is shaking his administration.
website said the deputy head of the national police, Muammer Bucak, and
provincial chiefs, among them the commanders in the capital Ankara and the
Aegean province of Izmir, were removed from their posts overnight.
government has purged hundreds of police since the graft scandal erupted on
December 17 with the detention of dozens of people including businessmen close
to the government and three cabinet ministers’ sons.
Among the those
questioned, most have been released. A remaining 24, including two of the
ministers’ sons, remain in custody, according to local media.
the allegations have not been made public, but are believed to relate to
construction and real estate projects and Turkey’s gold trade with Iran,
according to Turkish newspaper reports citing prosecutors’
Relating to a tender rigging investigation, police conducted
raids in various cities on Tuesday. They arrested 25 suspects from Turkish State
Railways, port directors and businessmen, Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper
Turkey’s opposition leader said Erdogan would stand trial on
corruption charges one day.
“He [Erdogan] says, ‘I would judge the
Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, if I had the authority.’ But he can’t
have such an authority, he can’t judge. Judges do this.
Will you stand
before these judges one day? Yes, you will stand when clean politics prevail in
this country,” Kılıcdaroglu told a party parliamentary meeting on Tuesday
according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.
Republican People’s Party leader called the ruling AKP “completely
Meanwhile, an EU official spokesman said events in Turkey are a
“cause of concern,” reported AFP.
Separately, an agreement between Japan
and Turkey to build a nuclear plant in Turkey is raising proliferation concerns
in Japan, according to a report by the Japanese newspaper The Asahi
The two countries signed an agreement in May for Japan to export
nuclear technology to Turkey.
The agreement would enable Turkey to enrich
uranium and extract plutonium, a material that can be used for making nuclear
Erdogan discussed the project with Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe on Tuesday in Japan.