Report: Turkey purges hundreds more police over graft probe

January 31, 2014 14:46
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ISTANBUL - Turkey has purged at least 700 more police officers, local media said, over a corruption investigation portrayed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as part of a plot to undermine the country's economy and his government.

Turkey's Central Bank raised all key interest rates by some 500 basis points at an emergency meeting on Tuesday. Erdogan had long argued against the move that could hit growth ahead of polls this year seen as an important test of his popularity.

A photograph in the Hurriyet daily showed staff at Istanbul's main courthouse carrying boxes of documents which the paper said were from the offices of two prosecutors who were removed from the graft inquiry this week.

Altogether, more than 5,000 police officers have been dismissed or transferred since the graft inquiry became public on Dec. 17 with the arrest of businessmen close to Erdogan and three cabinet ministers' sons.

In the latest upheaval, hundreds of police were transferred from their posts in Ankara and Izmir on Thursday, and dozens more were affected in Istanbul and the southeastern city of Gaziantep, Radikal newspaper reported.

A spokesman at police headquarters in Ankara could not immediately confirm the reports.

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