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Turkish police academy head: Over 22,000 purged from police force following coup attempt

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Yılmaz Çolak, president of Turkey’s police academy, said on Friday that more than 22,000 police officers had been dismissed from the job as part of a purge in the Turkish police force following a failed coup last year.

Speaking during a conference in Antalya on Friday, Çolak said 12,000 police officers are still under suspension over alleged links to the coup for which the government blames the faith-based Gülen movement.

Çolak said there are currently 23,000 police cadets in training at the Turkish Police Academy, 22,000 of them police officers and 1,000 deputy police inspectors. He also added 2,200 more deputy inspectors would soon be enrolled at the academy for training.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants following the coup attempt.

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