Turkey Sacks 13,000 police officers over suspected ties to Gulen Fethullah

Turkish authorities suspended nearly 13,000 police officers, detained dozens of air force officers and shut down a TV station on Tuesday, widening a state ordered clampdown against perceived enemies in the wake of July’s failed coup.

The police headquarters said 12,801 officers, including 2,523 chiefs, had been suspended because of their suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the attempt to overthrow the government.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, denies any link to the putsch which has shaken the country and led to the deaths of more than 240 people.

The suspensions came hours after deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus announced that the cabinet had approved a 90-day extension to a state of emergency, renewing President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers to govern by decree at least until January, Haaretz reports.

As well as suspending around five percent of the entire police force, the authorities detained 33 air force officers in raids across the country, the private Dogan news agency reported, and the transmission of TV station IMC was cut following accusations of spreading “terrorist propaganda”.

State-run Anadolu Agency said 37 people working in the Interior Ministry’s headquarters had also been removed from their posts, although no explanation was given.

The emergency measures, if approved by parliament, mean Erdogan can take decisions without oversight of the Constitutional Court, Turkey’s highest legal body.

Since July 15, Erdogan has taken unprecedented steps to rid state institutions of staff deemed disloyal or potential enemies. About 100,000 people in the military, civil service, police, judiciary and universities have been sacked or suspended from their jobs, and 32,000 have been arrested.

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