Report: Turkey sacks police chiefs after bribery raids

People arrested as part of a probe into alleged corruption arrive at the hospital for a medical check-up at the start of their custody in Istanbul on Dec. 18, 2013. (AFP)

Turkey has dismissed five police chiefs, a report said Wednesday, a day after dozens of people including the sons of three cabinet ministers were detained in a sweeping probe into alleged corruption.

Among the sacked officers were those who ordered Tuesday’s raids, which have sent shockwaves through the country, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. Police declined to comment.

Well-known businessmen and bureaucrats were also among the 49 people detained in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul and the capital Ankara on Tuesday suspected of fraud and bribery in connection with public tenders for construction projects.

There has been speculation the investigation may be linked to a simmering dispute between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and influential Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen ahead of elections next year.

The feud hit the headlines last month after the government floated plans to close down a network of private schools most of them run by Gulen’s Hizmet (Service) movement.

It has exposed fractures in the religiously conservative power base of a prime minister who has dominated Turkish politics for 11 years, ahead of local polls in March.

Those detained include the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, as well as well-known businessmen and bureaucrats including the chief executive of Turkish state bank Halkbank Suleyman Aslan and construction tycoon Ali Agaoglu, local media reported.

The suspects are accused of accepting and facilitating bribes for some projects, getting construction permits for protected areas in exchange for money, gold smuggling and money laundering.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41