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Turkish police say nearly 13,000 officers suspended from duty

Turkey has continued a crackdown by suspending 12,801 police from duty, police headquarters said. The move comes a day after the country announced an extension of its state of emergency imposed after a failed July coup.

Turkish police said on Tuesday that 12,801 officers, including 2,523 police chiefs, had been suspended for suspected links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of being behind a failed July 15 coup.

Turkey has a total police force of around 270,000 officers.

The move comes after the Interior Ministry launched an investigation into the police force following the abortive coup attempt.

It also follows an announcement by the government on Monday that the post-coup state of emergency in the country would be extended for another 90 days from October 19.

Quashing dissent?

The state of emergency has facilitated Ankara's recent crackdown on the military, civil service, police and judiciary, which has seen tens of thousands of people sacked or suspended and around 32,000 arrested for their alleged role in the coup attempt.

Ankara accuses the Gulen movement of infiltrating institutions to form a "parallel state." The movement had a strong presence in the media, business sector, police, judiciary and bureaucracy before a crackdown on the group began nearly two years ago following a fallout between Gulenists and the government.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated that the state of emergency might go on for more than year to allow authorities to hunt down the Gulen supporters they hold responsible.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied any involvement in the failed putsch.

Turkey has applied for the United States to extradite Gulen, a process that is likely to be a long and drawn out process.

Many of Turkey's Western allies and rights groups fear that Erdogan has used the failed coup as a pretext for suppressing dissent, as well as stepping up a crackdown on suspected Kurdish militant supporters.

tj/cw (Reuters, AP, AFP)

 

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