- Following a five-month-long vacancy, the Turkish government has appointed a police chief for the capital city of Ankara to act as its principal director. Mahmut Karaaslan, who had been serving as the police chief in the eastern town of Van, has been appointed to Ankara, according to a decree issued in the Official Gazette early March 15.
The appointment came upon the opposition parties' fierce criticism of the critical post being occupied by an alternate director following the first of three suicide bomb attacks in the capital since October 2015.
“Appointing a police chief to a certain town is within the authority of our [interior] minister. However, civil service has a fundamental principle; the acting police chief is no different from a principal director. The acting police chief has no less responsibility” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters after a cabinet meeting late March 14.
At least 37 people were killed in the most recent terror attack in Ankara on March 13, which paved the way for the opposition parties to raise questions on why the government had yet to appoint an acting police chief to the capital city.
“Is there any capitol city in the world that has no police chief?” asked Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) at a press conference on March 13.
Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chairperson of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), touched on the same point as he asked, “Who will appoint the police chief? The HDP?”
Kurtulmuş responded to the criticisms from the opposition, saying, “No one should think that we have a less responsible police chief when he sits in this position as the acting chief.”