The Post

‘Tame’ police blamed for Isis bombs


A POLITICAL purge of police officers linked to an opponent of President Tayyip Erdogan left Turkey vulnerable to bombings of the kind that killed nearly 100 people at the weekend, a high-level security source says.

Holes were left in the country’s security capabiliti­es when 350 high-ranking officers were sacked in December 2013 as Erdogan, then the prime minister, struggled to extricate his government from a corruption scandal.

The resulting ‘‘tame’’ police force has allowed Isis to operate freely, the source said.

The government has blamed Islamic State for Sunday’s attack in Ankara, which killed at least 100 people and injured hundreds. Many Turks, however, believe it was the work of the state and designed to escalate pre-election tensions.

Police sources have told journalist­s that they believe one of the bombers to be the brother of the suicide bomber who killed 32 people in Suruc, just over the border from Kobani in Syria, in July.

No group has claimed responsibi­lity, although Isis has made no secret of its willingnes­s to shed blood on Turkish soil. However, many of the government’s opponents believe Isis is a useful cover for Erdogan to attack Kurdish groups.

Selahattin Demirtas, the chairman of the People’s Democratic party (HDP), has also accused the government of complicity in the Ankara bombings. Those who were at the pro-Kurdish peace rally say there was a marked lack of police in the area when the devices were detonated.

‘‘If the government had applied ordinary security measures this attack would have been prevented,’’ said Ertugrul Kurkcu, HDP deputy for the Izmir region.

According to the security source, Erdogan’s political travails two years ago are key. Erdogan claimed a campaign led by Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Islamist cleric, was trying to topple him and that many of the police officers investigat­ing the corruption allegation­s were part of a coup.

The source said the purge was to ensure members of the ruling Justice and Developmen­t party (AKP) would not be charged with corruption. ‘‘People who had 20 years of experience were fired, and new people were assigned to ensure that AKP members would not be charged. Now, no one working in Turkish police intelligen­ce and counterter­rorism knows what they are doing.’’

The AKP has denied the allegation­s. ‘‘Various opposition groups are increasing­ly making meaningles­s accusation­s to vilify the political leadership,’’ a spokesman said.





a Turkish man called Yunus Emre Alagoz in connection with the Ankara bombing. He has not been seen since July, when his brother, Seyh Abdurrahma­n, killed himself and 32 others in the town of Suruc, which borders Syria

The Islamic State group is the ‘‘No 1 priority’’ in the investigat­ion into twin bombings that killed nearly 100 people in the Turkish capital, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says.

Yeni Safak, a newspaper close to the government, on Monday reported that investigat­ors were testing DNA samples from the families of 20 Turks they believe belong to Isis.

The Hurriyet newspaper said the type of device and explosives used in Saturday’s attacks were the same as those used in a suicide bombing the government says Isis committed near Suruc that killed 33 peace activists in July.

More than 40 suspected Isis militants have been detained in four cities, but it is not clear if the arrests are linked to Saturday’s bombings, AP reported.

On Sunday, the Turkish military carried out air strikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in the southeast of the country and in northern Iraq after rejecting a ceasefire announced by the PKK on Saturday.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organisati­on by Turkey and the United States.

 ??  ?? Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sacked more than 300 high-ranking police officers in 2013, during a corruption scandal.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sacked more than 300 high-ranking police officers in 2013, during a corruption scandal.

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