A far reaching corruption investigation in Turkey prompted three ministers to resign in December and, as announced Tuesday, led to the removal of 350 police officers from their positions in Ankara.
Local state media reported that the police officers who were removed -- most of whom worked on terrorism, smuggling and organized crime -- have been reassigned to traffic police departments and district police stations.
Police officers from outside Ankara have assumed the responsibilities of the purged officers.
Turkish columnist Kadri Gursel views the police purge as "a panic attack by a government acting in haste to prevent further corruption probes... By law, the government has no jurisdiction to remove judges or prosecutors, so it is cracking down on the police force, which falls under its authority."
Prosecutors announced on December 17, 2013 that it was pursuing a corruption investigation into Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political and business allies. The sons of three ousted ministers were arrested on charges related to the corruption investigation and their minister fathers resigned shortly thereafter.
Erdogan has denied involvement in the graft scandal and asserted that he and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) "act according to the laws, and we will continue to do so. We will clean up possible rotten parts…If some small dark spot has emerged on our record and draws attention, it is only because our record is so clean white."
[CNN] [New York Times] [Wall Street Journal]