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Mass purge in police departments costs TL 1.1 billion annually, report says

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Post-Dec.17, 2013 corruption scandal purge conducted by the government within the police departments across the country annually cost around TL 1.119 billion in 2014 and 2915, according to a report released by an association founded by forcibly resigned police chiefs.

The cost includes the closure of police academies, reassignment and dismissal of thousands of police officers and forced resignation. According to the report, legislation introduced by the government in 2014 and 2015 to overhaul the National Police Department are contradicting with European Union (EU) standards, as well as international law, drifting the department away from transparency and accountability.

Mass reassignments, dismissals, collective criminal and administrative investigations targeting officers caused a weakness in the country’s potential to battle with crimes and led to a rise in terrorist acts. In 2014 and 2015, nearly 70 percent of the National Police Department personnel, a total of 142,500 officers, were reassigned based on politically motivated decisions, the report stated. The reassignments and appointments cost TL 427,500 in total, according to the report.

Since a massive corruption scandal that implicated then-ministers of the Cabinet erupted on Dec. 17, 2013, Erdoğan and the AK Party government claimed that the graft investigation was a “coup attempt” against his government and accused the Gülen movement of being behind it. The sons of ministers, well-known business people, a district mayor, a director of a state-owned bank, and many high-profile figures, who were arrested as part of the investigation, were released and the prosecutors who initiated the case were later imprisoned as a result of political interference. However, four Cabinet ministers were forced to resign.

The major graft case was closed by other prosecutors who replaced them, with all the charges against politicians and business people being dropped. A parliamentary investigation against the four ministers was also dropped with AK Party votes. The graft probe had implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.

Following the Dec. 17 corruption and bribery scandal, Erdoğan and the government launched a witch hunt against the Gülen movement and its sympathizers. Erdoğan personally declared he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with alleged links to the movement. Thousands of prosecutors, judges and police chiefs were reassigned, dismissed or imprisoned either for taking part in the corruption investigation or based on allegations of having links to the movement.

Also there have been many police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, which strictly denies the accusations.

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