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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs