News / Europe

    Turkish Minister Says Fending off 'Mini-Coup Attempt'

    FILE - Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan
    FILE - Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan
    Reuters
    Turkey's government said on Tuesday it was fending off a “mini coup attempt” by elements in the police and judiciary who served the interests of foreign and domestic forces bent on humbling the country.

    Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the ruling AK Party had in the past survived military coup plots and attempts in the courts to outlaw it. It would not now yield to a corruption investigation he said targeted the government but was already damaging the national economy.

    “These latest formations in the judiciary and the police, we can't call it a coup, but a mini coup attempt. This is what interests foreign investors,” he told broadcaster CNBC-e, echoing suggestions by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of a foreign interest in the crisis.

    “Maybe the clearest indicator of this was the fall in share prices,” added Babacan, who is in charge of the economy. The market value of Turkish listed companies had fallen $49 billion by Monday's market close, he said. The main share index was down 1 percent on Tuesday.

    Erdogan has, without naming it, accused a movement led by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen of creating a “state within a state”, using influence in the police and judiciary in a campaign to discredit the government.

    The “Hizmet” (Service) movement controls a vast global network of schools and businesses. Tensions have grown between the two former allies over elements of foreign and domestic policy and moves to close his private schools in Turkey.

    The graft inquiry became public on Dec. 17 with a series of raids and detentions of senior businessmen close to Erdogan and of the sons of three ministers. Since then, the media hostile to Erdogan has brimmed with tales of police raiding offices or homes and seizing caches of dollar bills.

    Erdogan's supporters argue that accusations have so far lacked any substance and were driven by political ambitions.

    “We as the government are on the job,” Babacan said. “We created this political and economic stability with our own strength. We will not easily allow someone to come and take it away. However many efforts there were until now trying to shake political stability, we overcame them all.”

    Army out of politics

    Erdogan has overseen strong economic growth and a period of political stability unmatched in modern times since his AK Party was first elected in 2002.

    The current corruption crisis is not the first critical moment for Erdogan, who created the party with the name AK - a word that in Turkish suggests purity and resistance to the corruption that had tainted older established parties.

    Hundreds of senior army officers have been jailed on accusations of plotting to overthrow Erdogan, who has succeeded in banishing from politics a military that had intervened to topple four governments in the second half of the 20th century.

    Hardliners in the judiciary tried in 2008 to impose a ban on the AK Party, a coalition of conservative religious elements, center-right figures and nationalists that was accused of endangering the country's secular order.

    As Babacan was speaking, news emerged of a further resignation from the AK Party. A total of seven MPs have resigned from the AKP since the end of November, five since the Dec. 17 police raids.

    There is, however, no sign of any large-scale abandonment of the party which dominates Turkish politics. Erdogan, playing on his still unrivaled popularity, could even call early elections next year to shore up his position.

    Erdogan has responded to the corruption scandal with the purging of some 70 police investigators and blocked a second wave of investigations. Those targeted some of Erdogan's most ambitious infrastructure projects, including a third Bosphorus bridge and a canal allowing passage from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, easing traffic on the Istanbul Strait.

    Erdogan, whose popularity held up through a summer of protests against what critics call an increasingly authoritarian style of government, has broadened Turkish influence in the Middle East and Africa with a vigorous business drive, led often by construction projects.

    Certainly, this has been to some extent to the detriment of relations with the United States and European Union.

    “There is a very significant and broad mass uncomfortable with the position which Turkey has reached in the last 11 years, the advances it has secured, the power it has created in the region, its resonance in the world,” Babacan said.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.