News / Europe

Turkey Claims Foreign Influence on Anti-Corruption Probes

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters as he arrives at a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Feb. 18, 2014.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters as he arrives at a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Feb. 18, 2014.
Dorian Jones
With the Turkish government mired in corruption allegations, it has found an unlikely ally. Leading members of the pro-Kurdish movement are backing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's claim that he is the victim of an international conspiracy. Such support is attributed to the belief that Erdogan is key to ongoing peace efforts with the Kurds.

For months, the Turkish government has been battling corruption allegations involving, among other things, money-laundering. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cast the allegations as an attempted "judicial coup" - and blames foreign powers.

Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, normally a critic of Erdogan, has been more reticent in criticizing the government. Earlier this month, BDP parliamentary deputy Sirri Sakik even played down the corruption allegations.

Sakik said he did not care very much about the corruption issue, adding "If the money is not stolen that way, it would be stolen in some other way."

Observers said the reason the pro-Kurdish party was backing away from criticism of Erdogan was that the BDP was anxious to preserve ongoing peace efforts between the Turkish government and the Kurdish population.

The ruling AK Party has initiated a peace process to bring an end to the decades-long conflict between the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and the Turkish state.

Political scientist Nuray Mert of Istanbul University said the pro-Kurdish movement could pay a high price for its pragmatic approach.

"The picture that they give is like they are just focused on their own struggle, rather than considering the whole picture of Turkey. It makes the Kurdish political party quite irrelevant in the eyes of ordinary Turks. You are accepting this indecent proposal by this corrupt government in exchange of your rights and freedoms," said Mert.

In January, the banned Group of Communities in Kurdistan, which is linked to the PKK, issued a statement supporting government claims that the corruption probes are part of an international conspiracy to overthrow the prime minister.

The statement blamed a conspiracy of London businesses, along with Jews, Greeks and Armenians.

The declaration drew heavy criticism including from leading members of the pro-Kurdish movement - a sign that there are limits to their belief in a conspiracy theory.

But there are even bigger problems that may compromise peace efforts.

Political scientist Mert said, with the government mired in crisis, she questioned whether it was even in a position to deliver on peace.

"This political government can stick to power for some time. But it's lost domestic and international legitimacy, so has ceased to be an actor who can solve the Kurdish problem," she said.

The government’s room to maneuver is likely to be further hampered when Turkey's 18-month election campaign starts next month. Observers point out that many members of the ruling AK Party voters are Turkish nationalists who are skeptical of ongoing Kurdish peace efforts. This is likely to make it difficult for the prime minister to make major concessions to Turkey’s Kurdish minority in the near future.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid