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Gov't encourages public employees to tell on colleagues.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- In a bid to fight terrorism, the government has established a "witness protection unit" in many public institutions such as the Ministry of Justice and the Social Security Institution (SGK) that would encourage employees to come forward and tell on their colleagues, a daily said on Friday.

All actions to be conducted as part of the fight against terrorism in public institutions will be dealt with in line with the Witness Protection Law, the Cumhuriyet daily said on Friday.

In a classified document sent by the Ministry of Interior, institutions were instructed to elect two individuals within the institution to be tasked with directing the witness protection services.

According to the report, the document was sent to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education, as well as the SGK, the Student Selection and Placement Center (EuSYM) and the Higher Education Board (YEuK).

The document, titled "Witness Protection," was reportedly sent on Nov. 20 and signed by Mehmet Tekinarslan, the deputy undersecretary of the Interior Ministry.

The daily also published the Interior Ministry document in which witness protection services are reportedly described as an indispensable tool in the fight against terrorism.

The public institutions in question have reportedly provided the National Police Department with details on the two high-level managers from their institutions who will be in charge of the mechanism.

One of them will be the principal person, while the other is listed as a reserve, according to the report.

It is widely believed that the government would use the witness protection mechanism against all dissidents, including the faith-based GE-len movement.

Following two sweeping corruption investigations that went public in December 2014, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been waging a war against the movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an, who was prime minister at the time, accused the movement of being behind the probes, claiming they were a coup plot against the government.

The government is known to be looking for ways to dismiss public employees allegedly linked to the movement.

Many police officers and prosecutors were removed from their posts in a huge reshuffle while the police officers and prosecutors who conducted the graft probes were either suspended, dismissed from service or arrested on various charges.

Since the graft probes, the government has described the GE-len movement as a terrorist organization despite the fact that there is no such court decision about the movement.

Many sympathizers of the movement, who are inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah GE-len, are facing court cases in which they are accused of being a member of a terrorist organization because of their sympathies toward the movement.

The movement, which the government was sympathetic to before the graft probes went public, denies being behind the probes.

[Cihan/Today's Zaman] Cihan CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Mar 4, 2016
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