1,000 Turkish police officers sacked, benefits scrapped over alleged terror links

The Turkish Security Directorate General has sacked or cancelled the benefits of 1,000 active or retired police officers in line with a soon-to-expire government decree over their alleged links to terrorist organizations, Kronos 35 news site reported on Thursday.

A majority of the officers who have been dismissed are active-duty police in Ankara and Istanbul, it said, and include former and current police officers who are behind bars on terror charges.

Five days after the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared a state of emergency and began issuing decrees, which saw some 80,000 people placed behind bars and more than 150,000 sacked from their state jobs as part of a crackdown on alleged members of the Gülen movement, a now outlawed religious group accused of orchestrating the failed putsch.

Most dismissed civil servants are accused of links to leader of the Gülen Movement, Fethullah Gülen, but there were many others who belonged to other opposition groups.

The latest round of officer dismissals was based on Article 35 of decree number 375, issued in the aftermath of the two-year-long state of emergency rule following the July 2016 coup attempt, according to Kronos 35. The article is set to expire on July 31.

A large number of those targeted in the latest scrapping of benefits signed off by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu were dismissed from the police force following the corruption investigations of late 2013, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close circle was implicated.

Legal proceedings are ongoing for the dismissed officers, it said.

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