Ministerial bureaucrats purged after being profiled by MIT

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- The government’s massive purges in the police force and judiciary after a major corruption and bribery investigation was made public in December of last year has continued to spread to the ministries, with hundreds of bureaucrats having been removed from their positions.

The decision for the removals was announced in Wednesday’s Official Gazette.

The removals allegedly came after the bureaucrats were profiled by a five-member team assigned by the Prime Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT). The team recently shared a report pertaining to their “findings” about the bureaucrats with the ministries they were working at. The bureaucrats were mainly working at the ministries of labor and social security, finance, customs and trade, and environment and urban planning. The ministries, allegedly after examining the report, decided to remove hundreds of bureaucrats. The bureaucrats are mostly general directors, deputy general directors, department heads and consultants, Today’s Zaman has learned.

The Prime Ministry and MIT have been carrying out secret profiling of ministerial bureaucrats to see if the bureaucrats are part of the faith-based Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

There are claims that the only criteria in these purges is the “parallel state,” a term the government uses to define those bureaucrats known to be close to the Hizmet movement, which is a grassroots movement based on voluntary participation to spread interfaith dialogue and tolerance with a particular emphasis on education. The government has been at odds with Hizmet since a corruption and bribery scandal erupted on Dec. 17, 2013.

Roughly 15,000 people, including bureaucrats, police officers, prosecutors and judges, have been removed from their posts since Dec. 17. They have been appointed to less prestigious positions. Claims emerged in early April that the Interior Ministry is planning to dismiss the reassigned officers in the upcoming weeks. The ministry will allegedly dismiss those officers on the charge of engaging in illegal wiretapping activities during crucial investigations, leaking or destroying some important data, misconduct and acquiring information through illegal means.

Dursun Gökmen, head of the informatics department at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, has been removed in the latest wave of purges as well as Adem Onar, head of the service delivery department at the Social Security Institution (SGK), Volkan Kaplan, head of the informatics department at the Ministry of Customs and Trade, and Turker Turan YIldIz, head of the informatics department at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. New names have been appointed to their posts.

A notice in the Official Gazette said the officials will later be reassigned to other posts.

News sources suggested that the removed officials will be appointed as simple civil servants rather than department heads. This will lead to financial losses for the officials. A department head usually earns some TL 5,000 monthly while a civil servant earns less than TL 3,000.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)