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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid