October 27, 2016

Turkey suspends 95 police as post-coup crackdown rolls on

Turkish President Erdogan speaks during Democracy and Martyrs Rally in Istanbul

Turkish authorities suspended 95 Istanbul police officers, including police chiefs, on Monday, broadcaster CNN Turk reported, the latest steps in a sweeping crackdown to target security forces following a failed coup last month.

About 80,000 people in the police, military, judiciary and civil service have been sacked or suspended since the failed July 15 coup, when a group of rogue soldiers attempted to topple the government. Turkey says followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen were behind the attempt.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania since 1999, denies the charge and has condemned the coup.

The 95 officers were suspended from duty at Istanbul police headquarters in Istanbul, CNN Turk said. No one was immediately available for comment at the Istanbul police headquarters.

Separately, photos published by state-run Anadolu Agency showed lorries draped with Turkish flags hauling armoured vehicles, covered in tarpaulin, out of barracks in Istanbul and Ankara, to be taken to locations outside the cities.

Under a decision taken after last month’s coup, all military barracks within the two cities are to be moved elsewhere by Sept 11.

Anadolu said armoured vehicles from the 66th mechanised infantry brigade were transported out of the Bastabya barracks in Istanbul. It said the transfer of military vehicles would continue.

Coup plotters had commandeered vehicles from the Bastabya barracks on the night of the coup, sending them to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and the police headquarters.

Turkey’s Supreme Military Council, which normally meets just twice a year, was to convene for the second time in a month on Tuesday as part of the government’s plan to overhaul the armed forces and bring it fully under civilian control.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was to chair the council meeting, starting at 10am (0700 GMT) on Tuesday, sources from his office said. No statement has yet been issued on the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting.

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