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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid