Scandal-hit Turkey PM presses police purge

2013-12-21 10:37
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File, AP)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Istanbul - Turkish prosecutors have begun charging some of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's closest allies in a huge graft scandal he has responded to with a spectacular purge of the police.

Erdogan has said he is battling "a state within a state" and described the corruption probe, which comes ahead of crucial March polls, as a smear operation.

Media reports on Friday said prosecutors had begun handing out corruption indictments to some of the 89 suspects arrested three days earlier, with the first eight formally arrested and placed in pre-trial detention.

They are accused of numerous offences including accepting and facilitating bribes for development projects and securing construction permits for protected areas.

The remaining detainees were appearing in court Friday after being interrogated by police, according to local media.

The crisis erupted Tuesday when police made the arrests in a series of dawn raids, one of the most brazen challenges to Erdogan's 10-year rule.

Among the suspects detained were the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, along with the chief executive of state-owned Halkbank, Suleyman Aslan, and construction tycoon Ali Agaoglu.

The environment minister's son has since been released, but the other two ministers' sons are still being held for questioning, the Dogan news agency reported.

The Hurriyet daily said 15 other suspects had also been released, but there was no official confirmation.

The crisis has rattled the stock market and sent the Turkish lira to an all-time low.

Since the scandal broke out, Erdogan has sacked dozens of police officials, including the Istanbul police chief, for cooperating with the investigation without permission.

Turkish media said another 17 were fired on Friday alone, amid a widening purge of the police command.

Erdogan's critics accuse him of desperately trying to protect his cronies, and the appointment of Selami Altinok, a little-known governor with no police career, as Istanbul's new police chief was further seen as an attempt to shut down the investigation.

Altinok raised eyebrows when he landed in Istanbul on Thursday in the premier's private jet.

'Turkey needs clean politics'

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), called Erdogan a "dictator".

"In this country, everything is controlled by what comes out of a dictator's mouth.... They want to drag the country into the darkness of 19th century," Kilicdaroglu said.

"Turkey needs clean politics and a clean society."

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, speaking at the close of a parliamentary budget debate Friday, argued the government was the victim of a conspiracy.

"We don't deserve this. Who else has waged such a determined fight against corruption?" he said to opposition heckling.

The prime minister and his allies did not say who they thought was behind what Arinc called a "lynch campaign" against them. But most observers have interpreted the raids as a result of tensions between Erdogan's government and Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who wields considerable political and economic clout.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exiled in the US state of Pennsylvania, has had an increasingly public feud with Erdogan and his allies in the moderately Islamist ruling AKP party.

The graft probe has also exposed bitter fault lines in Erdogan's traditional power base and prompted calls from both his own party and opposition parties for the resignation of the entire government.

"No one has the right to intervene in the judicial process," wrote former culture minister Ertugrul Gunay on Twitter.

The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, on Thursday urged Turkish authorities to investigate the graft allegations in an "impartial manner".

EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis branded the probe a "disgusting conspiracy".

The Erdogan government's allegation of a plot against it echoes its reaction to mass protests that shook the country in June, when a police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in against plans to raze an Istanbul park sparked huge demonstrations against the prime minister and his party.

At least six people died and 8 000 were hurt in three weeks of protests.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  turkey
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.