Wave of purges in administration expands to governors

A decree by the Interior Ministry concerning the mass appointments of governors was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday evening after President Abdullah Gül’s approval, changing the highest-ranking administrative chiefs of nine provinces while putting 12 governors on ice, in a move perceived as an extension of the purges of bureaucrats.
 
This decree is the second since a corruption investigation was made public with detentions on Dec. 17. Envisaging shady relations and the formation of a clandestine network of embezzlement and even implicating some members of Cabinet, the investigations were quickly stifled by the government.
 
Massive purges in the ranks of both the police and the bureaucracy have taken place since the appointment of Efkan Ala as interior minister in a Cabinet reshuffle late last December as a result of public pressure on the prime minister amidst the graft allegations. Ala has so far issued four decrees concerning appointments within the Security General Directorate, demoting thousands of police officers and chiefs.
 
Bartın Governor Ali Çınar, Batman Governor Yılmaz Arslan, Edirne Governor Hasan Duruer, Gümüşhane Governor Yusuf Mayda, Hakkari Governor Necmettin Kalkan, Kars Governor Eyüp Tepe, Manisa Governor Abdurrahman Savaş, Mardin Governor Ahmet Cengiz, Ordu Governor Kenan Çiftçi, Rize Governor Nurullah Çakır and Siirt Governor Ahmet Aydın were appointed “central governors,” a euphemism for unnecessary or unwanted governors.
 
Sakarya Governor Mustafa Büyük was appointed to the Adana governorate, Tunceli Governor Hakan Yusuf Tuncer to the Afyon governorate, İstanbul Deputy Governor Ahmet Deniz to the Ardahan governorate, Ardahan Governor Seyfettin Azizoğlu to the Bartın governorate, Eskişehir Deputy Governor Azmi Çelik to the Batman governorate, Avcılar District Governor Hasan Kurklu to the Burdur governorate, Central Governor Dursun Ali Şahin to the Edirne governorate, Interior Ministry Legal Counsel Yücel Yavuz to the Gümüşhane governorate, Interior Ministry Education Department President Yakup Canbolat to the Hakkari governorate, İstanbul Deputy Governor Günay Özdemir to the Kars governorate, Urla District Governor Şehmus Günaydın to the Kastamonu governorate, Kastamonu Governor Erdoğan Bektaş to the Manisa governorate, Tokat Governor Mustafa Taşkesen to the Mardin governorate, Afyonkarahisar Governor İrfan Balkanlıoğlu to the Ordu governorate, Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality Deputy General Secretary Ersin Yazıcı to the Rize governorate, Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş to the Sakarya governorate, Ombudsman Institution Secretary-General Mustafa Tutulmaz to the Siirt governorate, Muratpaşa District Governor Murat Can to the Tokat governorate and İzmit District Governor Osman Kaymak to the Tunceli governorate.
 
The appointments have caused great controversy. Urla District Governor Günaydın’s promotion, for instance, was seen on social media as a reward for his services during the Urla villas scandal, which, according to motions sent to Parliament by prosecutors of the Dec. 17 investigation, included the easing of zoning restrictions in return for bribes.
 
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Hasan Ören drew attention to another dimension of the appointments. Nine of the 12 governors who were cast aside were from the cities where the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) failed in the March 30 local elections, he said in a written statement on Friday.
 
“These appointments are not arbitrary. It is an indication that those governors who don’t support the party members and fail to garner achievements [for the ruling party] will be decommissioned. As seen, there is a goal to establish a cadre of governors who will actively work for the benefits of the party,” he said.

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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