Turkish authorities suspended more than 12,000 police officers over alleged links to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused of masterminding the July failed coup, the police headquarters said on Tuesday.
Of the 12,801 suspended from duty as part of the investigation into the coup attempt, 2,523 were police chiefs, the police authorities said in a statement. In total, Turkey has around 270,000 police officers.
They were suspended over suspected links to the Gulen movement which Turkey blames for the attempted putsch which tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, strongly denies Ankara’s accusations.
Tens of thousands of people in the judiciary, civil service, military and education sector have been suspended while 32,000 suspects have been placed under arrest on charges of links to to the movement.
The government’s crackdown has alarmed Turkey’s Western allies who have warned Ankara that it must act within the rule of law.
Turkey on Monday extended the state of emergency introduced after the failed putsch for another 90 days starting on October 19.
Erdogan previously suggested that it might be necessary for the state of emergency to be kept for at least 12 months.