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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlies her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block 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 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