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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid