The police chiefs sacked in Istanbul include the heads of the financial crime and organized crime units, BBC reports. Both were involved in Tuesday’s arrests. The others fired include the heads of the smuggling unit, the anti-terrorism branch and the public security branch. Police have yet to comment, Reuters reports.
The firings follow Tuesday’s arrests related to three separate investigations, including allegations of crime rings and bribery involving public contracts. Those arrested include the sons of the interior minister, the economy minister and the environment minister as well as other businessmen close to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish political analysts are connecting the arrests to a rift between Prime Minister Erdogan and the influential social and cultural movement of moderate Islamists, Hizmet, led by prominent cleric Fethullah Gulen, BBC reports. Gulen, who once backed Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, now lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. Erdogan said in a speech on Tuesday: “Turkey is not a banana republic or a third-class tribal state. Nobody inside or outside my country can stir up or trap my country.”