The Turkish national police department has deployed a reinforcement unit of 500 special police officers in Istanbul.
This particular type of reinforcement unit is usually only based in Ankara, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the establishment of the same kind of unit in Istanbul.
The Ankara unit was recently deployed to provide security around the periphery of Hagia Sophia following its controversial conversion into a mosque.
In addition to being armed, the reinforcement unit is trained in handling disasters and emergency situations. While the unit initially numbered 500, it could reportedly increase in numbers according to need.
The consolidation of police and security forces in Turkey has been a controversial issue in recent years, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has revived the watchmen police program, which was disbanded over a decade ago.Turkey’s rights defenders concerned watchmen’s new authority will violate privacy