Turkish gov’t to employ 10,000 new police officers

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivers a speech during military, police ceremony at Dolmabahce Palace overseeing provision of motorcycles, in Istanbul, Turkey on August 25, 2017. Kayhan Ozer / Anadolu Agency

The Turkish government on Thursday announced that it would hire 10,000 new police officers following a mass purge in police ranks after a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency, the Police Vocational Education Centers will accept 9,000 male and 1,000 female police students. Applications can be submitted March 12-23.

The government had already hired 13,000 police officers last fall.

Director General of Public Security Selami Altınok on Dec. 12, 2017 said 22,987 police officers in Turkey have been dismissed over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 15, 2016 through government decrees issued as part of an ongoing state of emergency declared after the coup attempt.

The ruling AKP government dismissed a total of 24,977 military members including 150 generals, 4,630 officers, 2,167 noncommissioned officers, 1,210 specialized sergeants, 411 civil servants and workers, and 16,409 cadets following the failed coup over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The government has up until now employed a total of 15,850 military personnel including 1,763 officers, 4,135 noncommissioned officers, 3,698 specialized sergeants, 6,162 contracted privates and 92 civil servants, the report said.

The Turkish government announced on Jan. 2 that it would enlist 42,938 new military personnel. A total of 3,755 officers, 5,375 noncommissioned officers, 13,213 specialized sergeants and 20,595 contracted privates are planned to fill the ranks.

“If it was a coup perpetrated by the Gülen movement and 25,000 military personnel and 22,987 police officers were dismissed for their connections to the movement, why did only 8,651 military members including cadets and privates participate in the coup?” is a question being asked by critics.

The government has been at the center of criticism for turning the Turkish armed forces into a political Islamist military in line with the wishes of President Erdoğan.

A military officer candidate was reportedly asked questions about the Quran and the anti-government Gezi protests of 2013 during an interview in October 2017.

In June, an imam-hatip, or religious high school, in İzmir province promised its graduates preference in enrollment at military and police academies.

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