TODAY’S – Interior Ministry to recruit 50,000 ‘loyal’ security guards

Interior Ministry to recruit 50,000 ‘loyal’ security guardsThe Interior Ministry is preparing to recruit 50,000 security guards in an effort to establish its own police force by appointing people who are loyal to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, several media outlets reported on Monday.As the beginning, 28,500 officers will reportedly begin active duty at major state buildings in Ankara According to reports, the number of the guards will reach 50,000 by the end of 2015.

Guards will also be assigned for special occasions that require a high level of security. The Interior Ministry is planning to benefit from the protection officers during events with large numbers of people in attendance such as concerts, stadiums and meetings.

The officers will be subordinated to the National Police Department but will not be required to wear official uniforms while on duty.The security guards will reportedly have the authority to ask for identity documents when deemed necessary and will be allowed to carry guns and detain suspects.

In addition, they will allegedly have the power to fire directly at protesters who throw Molotov cocktails without firing a warning shot. In other words, the newly recruited officers will be similar to police but with even greater powers.

The unprecedented rights given to these officers will likely prompt concerns that they will damage the rule of law and transform the country into a police state.Moreover, due to the fact that the minimum educational requirements for the new unit is to be deliberately kept low, high school graduates will be able to apply for positions, raising questions as to whether they will be qualified to do police work.

This move will add to the popular perception that the AK Party is redesigning the police force by appointing people loyal to it without consideration of merit.The AK Party government previously came under fire following the recruitment of 2,500 deputy police commissioners who were third- and fourth-year university students, most of whom were not qualified to do police work.

Suspicions that the government is redesigning the police forces by appointing people loyal to them first emerged on Oct. 31, when the National Police Department for the first time held an oral exam for candidates instead of a written one, while recruiting deputy police commissioners as part of a planned reformation of the police force.

Several media outlets claimed that during the oral exam, applicants were asked to comment on the corruption investigations that became public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013, and on the andquotparallel state,andquot a term coined by President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan to refer to alleged sympathizers of the faith-based Hizmet movement.

However, following the corruption investigation, the government not only removed many police officers who were in charge of the probes but also reassigned as many as 40,000 police officers and more than 1,000 prosecutors.President ErdoIan and the government have said many times that the police officers who conducted the probes were affiliated with the Hizmet movement without presenting any concrete evidence.

The movement has denied any connection to the corruption investigations.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman