News / Middle East

Turkey's Gul Urges Judiciary to Stay Impartial in Graft Probe

FILE - Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (L) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
FILE - Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (L) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters
Turkish President Abdullah Gul urged the judiciary to remain impartial as it pursues a corruption investigation shaking the government, warning on Friday of grave economic consequences if confidence in the country's institutions is eroded.
 
In his most exhaustive comments on the graft scandal so far, Gul said the existence of a “state within the state” would not be tolerated, an apparent reference to the movement of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers are influential in Turkey's police and judiciary.
 
He also said there should be no tolerance for corruption.
 
The corruption investigation, which has led to the resignation of three ministers, poses the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in his 11 years as leader. He has cast the probe as a foreign-backed plot to undermine his government and sap his influence in the Middle East and beyond.
 
Gul, whose role as president is largely ceremonial but who must approve laws passed by parliament and makes key appointments in the judiciary, has not been implicated in the corruption allegations.
 
“There can be no state within the state,” the president said in a live interview on Turkish television, echoing Erdogan's words after police raided offices and homes and detained businessmen close to the government two weeks ago.
 
“Anybody can work at state institutions - the army, the judiciary, or other state actors - but they have to abide by the law, the constitution and the rules of that institution ... taking orders from somewhere else is not acceptable,” he said.
 
“If there are such claims, these will be investigated and this cannot be allowed. If this is happening within the judiciary, among the judges, this cannot be tolerated.”
 
The corruption probe has pitched Erdogan against Gulen, whose Hizmet (“Service”) movement controls a vast global network of schools and businesses and whose sympathizers among Turkey's religious elite say they number in the millions.
 
FILE - Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania in this 2004 file photo.FILE - Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania in this 2004 file photo.
x
FILE - Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania in this 2004 file photo.
FILE - Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania in this 2004 file photo.
Many of Gulen's followers see him as a more progressive and pro-Western influence than Erdogan, whose opinions on issues from abortion to alcohol consumption, and the concentration of power around him they view with increasing alarm.
 
Erdogan's backers see Gulen's connivance in the inquiry, a charge the cleric has denied through his lawyers.
 
The prime minister has responded by purging some 70 police officers connected with the investigation and blocking a second probe into big infrastructure projects he has championed.
 
Economic Consequences
 
Gul, seen as a more unifying figure than Erdogan and who has largely stayed out of the furor, emphasized that the judiciary should also be free from government interference.
 
“We are in parliamentary system and as the president I am trying to do ... everything within my authority to ensure that state institutions are working in harmony,” he said.
 
“The legislative and executive powers are in a way accountable through elections but the judicial system is in a different position. For them, independence and impartiality is much more important.”
 
Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party has relied on its economic record to maintain the support of many Turks.
 
But the corruption scandal is shaking investor confidence at a time when the lira currency is weakening, inflation rising and growth slowing, risking tipping the nation into its greatest period of political instability in a decade - just before local and national elections this year and next.
 
“Economic stability comes first,” said Gul, who co-founded the AK Party with Erdogan more than a decade ago.
 
“If there is a worsening in the economy we would be shooting ourselves in the foot. If there is any deterioration in confidence, that will be the biggest damage to the country.”
 
Erdogan, who has won three elections, is barred by party rules from standing for a fourth term as prime minister and is widely expected to run instead for the presidency in August.
 
That has generated speculation that Gul, rather than running against Erdogan, could become prime minister in general elections currently scheduled for 2015.
 
Gul declined to be drawn.
 
“It is too early for me to say anything on this, but I would like to add that nobody should put a risk premium for Turkey on this issue,” he said.
 
“To be frank nothing has been discussed until now, I want everyone to know this. We will have three elections in the next two years and I believe Turkey will complete these as a mature democracy.”

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs