Turkey has purged its police on Monday after rounding up thousands of soldiers in the wake of a failed military coup, and said it could reconsider its friendship with the United States unless Washington hands over a cleric Ankara blames for the putsch.
The sacking of thousands of police officers followed orders for the detention of thousands of judges and prosecutors in the aftermath of Friday night’s coup, in which more than 200 people were killed when a faction of the armed forces tried to seize power.
The swift response, including calls to reinstate the death penalty for plotters, drew concern from Western allies who said Ankara must uphold the rule of law in the country, a NATO member that is Washington’s most powerful Muslim ally.
Thousands of members of the armed forces, from foot soldiers to commanders, were rounded up on Sunday, some shown in photographs stripped to their underpants and handcuffed on the floors of police buses and a sports hall. Several thousand prosecutors and judges have also been removed.
A senior security official told Reuters that 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to Friday’s coup bid.
Thirty regional governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants have also been dismissed, CNN Turk said. Annual leave was suspended for more than 3 million civil servants, and those already on leave were ordered back to their posts.
In the latest violence, an unidentified assailant burst into the office of the deputy mayor of a district in Istanbul and shot him in the head.