Erdogan Rounds Up 9,000 Anti-Government Turkish Police Officers

Fact checked
Erdogan rounds up 9,000 dissident police officers in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suspended over 9,000 police officers as part of an anti-government crackdown. 

On Wednesday, authorities were ordered to roundup thousands of officers suspected of having ties to the failed coup attempt last year. reports:

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge of the country.

A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.

Since then, Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups, who were believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.

Over 40,000 people have been arrested and 120,000 others sacked or suspended from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups.

Earlier in the day, Turkish authorities detained over 1,000 people over suspected ties to Gulen.

EU calls for halting turkey’s accession talks

Meanwhile, an EU parliament member responsible for accession talks with Turkey said the bloc should officially suspended negotiations with Ankara in the wake of this month’s constitutional vote.

Kati Piri, who was renewing the bloc’s calls for the suspension of membership talks with Turkey over its post-coup purges, noted that if Erdogan implemented his new constitutional reforms he would be closing the door on EU membership.

“As Turkey with such a constitution cannot become a member of the EU, it also doesn’t make sense to continue the discussion on integration with the current government,” she said.

On April 16, Turkey held a referendum on implementing a series of constitutional reforms that greatly empower Erdogan.

Under the new system, the office and position of prime minister would be scrapped in Turkey and the president would be granted executive powers to directly appoint top public officials, including ministers, and assign one or several vice presidents.

It further states that Turkey’s next presidential and parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously on November 3, 2019 and the head of state would have a five-year tenure, for a maximum of two terms.

“The EU should officially suspend the accession talks if the constitutional changes are implemented unchanged,” she added.

The EU official noted that the talks should be suspended and not halted as the chance for accession should not be taken away from the Turkish population.

“Turkey should remain a candidate country but we’re negotiating with the government. It’s become clear over the last two years that this government doesn’t want to meet criteria,” she noted.

Turkey has been an EU membership candidate since 1987 but the bid has stalled over the years mainly due to issues of democracy and human rights. Relations began to deteriorate last year when Turkey launched a massive crackdown on those alleged to have played a role in last year’s coup attempt.