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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid