Lawyer: Gov’t plans to dismiss arrested police officers before coalition

Lawyer Ömer Turanlı, who represents a number of police officers arrested in a government-orchestrated operation conducted against the police force in February, has said that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government is planning to dismiss all the arrested police officers before a coalition is established.

Based on the June 7 parliamentary election results, no party was able to form a single-party government, making it necessary for a coalition government to be formed.

Speaking with the Cihan news agency, Turanlı said the government is planning to dismiss tens of policemen arrested as part of the İstanbul-based operation conducted against the policemen -- who took part in an earlier operation against an alleged Iranian-backed terrorist organization, Tawhid-Salam -- from their jobs before the coalition government is set up.

Turanlı said, "Because they [the government] know that they can no longer engage in such unlawful deeds when the coalition is established, they want to dismiss those policemen who are among the most prominent police officers in the Turkish police force before it is too late for them.”

The National Police Department's High Disciplinary Council recently sent a statement to the arrested police officers and asked them to provide their defense.

Criticizing the police department's recent move, Turanlı said the government-initiated operations being conducted against the police officers aim at dismissing those police officers from their jobs completely, adding that these operations are totally baseless and unlawful. Turanlı added that the police department's sudden statement asking the arrested police officers to provide their last defense is an extraordinary practice. Saying that his clients were already oppressed because they have been imprisoned without any evidence, Turanlı added that their possible dismissal is the second move to oppress them.

The police officers were detained and then arrested on charges of forming an armed terrorist organization, being members of the organization, being involved in the organization's activities, military and political spying and attempting to stage a coup to destroy the Turkish Republic and hinder its activities early in February. Launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, the operation targeted 21 former anti-terror policemen across nine cities, including İstanbul, Zonguldak, Nevşehir, Kırşehir and Afyon. Former Chief Commissioner Mehmet Işık and Commissioner Selman Yuyucu were among those police officers.

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