Jul 19 2018

Turkish security recruitment drive ramps up

Tens of thousands more police officers and watchmen have been recruited so far in 2018, and plans are afoot to hire tens of thousands by the year’s end, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told police academy graduates at a ceremony in Istanbul on Thursday.

Over 18,000 police cadets have graduated this year, and a further 25,000 are expected to join the academy by the end of the year, said Soylu, who expects the intake next year to be 35,000.

The interior ministry has ramped up its intake of local watchmen, armed officers who provide security at shopping malls and markets and patrol neighbourhoods at night, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly expressed his wish to bring back the role, which had been discontinued in 2008.

“I want to hear the sound of watchmen’s whistles outside while I am in bed at night, and to hear that someone is on the streets looking out for our citizens as they sleep,” Soylu quoted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as saying at another graduation ceremony in June.

The number of watchmen on duty has climbed to 9,500 since the role was revived in 2016, and Soylu said the ministry planned to recruit another 7,000 this year.