News / Europe

Erdogan Vows Turkish Graft Affair Will Fail to Topple Him

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (C) addresses his supporters upon his arrival to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Dec. 27, 2013.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (C) addresses his supporters upon his arrival to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Dec. 27, 2013.
Reuters
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan swore on Sunday he would survive a corruption crisis circling his cabinet, saying those seeking his overthrow would fail just like mass anti-government protests last summer.
    
Erdogan, who says the scandal is an international plot, accused his opponents of caring not about corruption but wanting to undermine the power of Turkey, which has been transformed economically under his 11-year leadership.
    
On Friday, thousands of Turks demanding his resignation clashed with riot police in central Istanbul. The trouble recalled protests in mid-2013 which began over development plans for the city's Gezi park but broadened into complaints of authoritarianism under Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK party.
    
Erdogan, who is touring Turkey to drum up support before local elections in March, defied his accusers over the detention for suspected graft of three ministers' sons and the head of state-run Halkbank earlier this month.
    
"They said 'Gezi' and smashed windows. Now they say 'corruption' and smash windows. These conspiracies will not succeed," he told a cheering crowd in western Manisa province. "Their concern is not corruption, law or justice. Their only concern is damaging this nation's power."
    
Erdogan's government has purged about 70 police investigators involved in the case, while financial markets have taken fright and one AK official said national elections could be brought forward from 2015 if the crisis persists.
    
Although seven protesters and a policeman were killed in last summer's protests, Erdogan's popularity was almost unaffected in opinion polls. Analysts say this was due to his strong support among pious Turks and wealthy elites, as well as the diffuse nature of those demonstrations.
    
However, the current affair threatens to tarnish Erdogan's moral appeal and the crackdown on police has provoked a feud with the judiciary. Fretting investors have dumped Turkish stocks and pushed the lira currency to an all-time low against the dollar, a slide which a cabinet reshuffle failed to halt.
    
The case turned more personal last week when Turkish media published what appeared to be a preliminary summons for Bilal Erdogan, one of the premier's two sons, to testify. Erdogan, who denies any wrongdoing, said Bilal was named to hurt him.
    
Religious rift
    
Friday's unrest did not recur on Saturday or Sunday.
    
Unlike Erdogan's past confrontations with rivals such as the secularist military, the corruption scandal has exposed an internecine rift among powerful religious Turks.
    
Erdogan's allegations of a foreign hand in the affair put the focus on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who preaches from self-imposed exile in the United States and whose Hizmet movement claims at least a million followers, including senior police and judges, in Turkey.
    
Gulen denies involvement in stirring up the graft case. But he regularly censures Erdogan, an ex-ally with whom he fell out in a dispute for control over an influential network of Turkish cram schools, which prepares students for university exams.
    
In a vaguely phrased sermon uploaded to Gulen's website over the weekend, the cleric likened the current situation to dark historical episodes when "the masses were the playthings of demagogues, put to sleep and awoken at will."
    
He predicted the "funeral of this chaos, and the sacred days when the nation will be on a path to relief, are close".
    
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a thorough investigation of the graft allegations in remarks published in a Sunday newspaper. "In a region marked by crises and conflict we need Turkey as a stable anchor," he told Bild am Sonntag.
    
"We trust in the power of the Turkish state to investigate the corruption allegations irrespective of the persons involved," he said. "Succeeding in this is a measure of every state build on the rule of law."
    
The Erdogan government's crackdown on last summer's protests drew rebukes from several members of the European Union, which responded by postponing negotiations on Turkey's application to join the bloc.
    
The talks were revived in November but the EU warned Turkey last week to safeguard an independent judiciary.

You May Like

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Fake, Substandard Medicines Pose Global Challenge

So-called 'fake drugs' include expired medicines, those with manufacturing defects, and bogus tablets More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs