News / Europe

Turkey Vows No Cover-up Despite Purge of Graft Investigators

FILE - Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (L) is pictured with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
FILE - Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (L) is pictured with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Reuters
Turkey's president pledged on Tuesday there would be no cover-up in a high-level corruption case, despite a government-ordered purge of police investigating it that drew protests at home and a caution from the European Union.

The week-long scandal, which erupted with the arrest for graft of 24 people, including the chief of a state-run bank and the sons of two ministers, pits Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the judiciary and has rattled investor confidence.

Erdogan, a third-term premier under whom Turkey's economy has blossomed, portrays the probe as a foreign-orchestrated plot against national unity. He responded by sacking or reassigning some 70 of the police officers involved, including the chief of the Istanbul force.

The moves incensed many Turks who see an authoritarian streak in Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK party, and who are still simmering from huge anti-government protests in mid-2013.

President Abdullah Gul, a more unifying figure, sought to calm the furore.

”Turkey is not the same place compared to 10 or 15 years ago. Many reforms have been carried out, in politics as well as in the law,” Gul said in his first public remarks on the case.

”In a country where such reforms have taken place, if there were corruption and mistakes, they would not be covered up,” he told reporters, adding that “the independent, objective and democratic legal system [will] adjudicate the allegations in a manner that will not leave any question marks.”

Returning from a visit to Pakistan, Erdogan was welcomed at the airport by hundreds of supporters, as well as Turkey's interior and economy ministers. They are the fathers of two of the men in police custody and say their sons are innocent.

”We would confront any attempt by anyone to rob the people of their rights,” Erdogan told the crowd. “We would hold them accountable, as does the law.”

Secrecy

The corruption investigation centered on Halkbank was conducted largely in secret. At the weekend, the Erdogan government changed regulations for the police, requiring officers to report evidence, investigations, arrests and complaints to commanding officers and prosecutors.

The Turkish lira plunged to an all-time low of 2.0983 against the dollar on Friday, in part because of the affair. But it recovered to 2.0801 on Tuesday after the central bank said it would support the currency.

Thousands of Turks demonstrated in Istanbul on Sunday, calling on the government to resign. AK supporters countered with rallies in which they wrapped themselves in mock burial shrouds to show they would back Erdogan to the death.

Yet there were misgivings within AK, one of whose lawmakers, Haluk Ozdalga, was quoted by local media as saying: “To give the executive organs such a large opportunity to intervene greatly violates the independence of the judiciary.”

The European Union, which Turkey has long tried to join, voiced worry too.

”The latest developments, including the sacking of police chiefs, raise concerns as regards the independence, efficiency and impartiality of the investigations,” said a spokesman for Stefan Fuele, the European Commissioner for Enlargement.

”This further highlights the need for establishing a proper judicial police as already recommended by the EU.”

Erdogan transformed Turkey by cutting back the power of the military - guardian of the NATO member-state's secularist constitution - and champions a more assertive foreign policy.

The latest scandal has laid bare the more intimate rivalry between Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric whose Hizmet (“Service”) movement claims at least a million followers, including senior police and judges, and runs schools and charities across Turkey and abroad.

While denying any role in the probe, Gulen has taken personally Erdogan's descriptions of it as a “dirty operation” against Turkey that is controlled by shadowy foreign forces.

Raising the rhetorical temperature, Gulen on Monday dismissed Erdogan's statements as “nothing but a reflection of decayed thinking.”

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ozlam from: Turkey
December 24, 2013 11:38 PM
this filthy guy Erdogan has ruined our proud military and our civil liberties. this filth erdogan is an international criminal - a drug dealer. where is the West..?? they know everything... they all know what a criminal this guy is.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs