AK Party government removing critical voices from state bodies

Date posted: May 14, 2014


The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government launched a major purge across the country against anti-government bureaucrats, especially prosecutors and police officers, following the massive Dec. 17 corruption scandal which implicated government members.

Thousands of policemen and hundreds of prosecutors have been arbitrarily demoted and reassigned to other provinces and positions without any official charges or probes launched against them. Among the reassigned prosecutors are those overseeing the Dec. 17 graft case. In addition to the judiciary and police departments, other state institutions have lately been the subject of mass reassignments by the government. Commentators regard the purges as an attempt to establish complete government control of state bodies by eliminating individuals critical of government acts and anyone affiliated with a group discredited by the government.

The Bugün daily columnist Adem Yavuz Arslan wrote a Wednesday piece titled “The new motto in state institutions: What is your command?” Arslan pointed out that the government is continuing its purge of state institutions, which started shortly after the Dec. 17 police raids, which came as part of a graft probe involving government officials. The purges in the judiciary and the police are now at an outrageous level, Arslan noted, adding that the number of reassigned police officers has recently reached 16,000, and includes many successful police chiefs. The columnist stated that an additional purge was conducted in the Capital Markets Board (SPK) two weeks ago, which was followed by this week’s purge in the Finance Ministry. “Taking into consideration that the prime minister said that this is a ‘witch hunt,’ we can predict that these purges are very likely to continue. Of course, this situation has started to cause fear in state bodies. Many bureaucrats who are just doing their jobs and have no affiliation with any political groups now face [the prospect of] being dismissed with a claim of having links to the Hizmet movement. However, it is widely known that many of the bureaucrats discharged from their posts do not have any links with the movement,” Arslan said.

Arslan wrote that the purges pave the way for the filling of all positions in state institutions with pro-government bureaucrats. Arslan commented that the new public officials will be the kind of people who will obey all orders issued by the government, regardless of their illegality. Arslan also noted that some people are launching smear campaigns against those who currently hold positions they would like, which also gives the government the signal that they are obedient.

According to the Milliyet daily columnist Mehmet Tezkan, the government is trying to project an image to make it seem like stability in the country will continue only if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan becomes the next president, and that there might be a crisis if he is not elected president. “What will Erdoğan do if he is not elected as the next president? What if the presidential candidate nominated by the opposition parties takes office? Would he tolerate another person attempting to act as head of state and assembling the members of the Cabinet? Could Erdoğan bear him commenting on each issue every single day?” Tezkan wrote.

Source: Todays Zaman , May 14, 2014

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