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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.