News / Europe

Turkey’s Fading Economy Fuels Corruption Scandal

Turkey’s Fading Economy Fuels Corruption Scandali
X
January 14, 2014 7:58 PM
Turkey’s prime minister is battling corruption allegations amid a power struggle that goes to the heart of the political elite. Analysts say the feud - which has seen three Cabinet ministers lose their jobs - was triggered by slowdown in a country long seen as a rising economic power in the region. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Henry Ridgwell
Turkey’s prime minister is battling corruption allegations amid a power struggle that goes to the heart of the political elite. Analysts say the feud, which has seen three Cabinet ministers lose their jobs, was triggered by slowdown in a country long seen as a rising economic power in the region.  

Rival lawmakers started a brawl in Turkey’s parliament Sunday as the political feud intensified.

They clashed over a draft bill that will give the government a bigger role in appointing judges and prosecutors. The opposition claims it is an effort to stifle a corruption scandal.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cast the corruption allegations as an attempted "judicial coup" - and blames foreign powers. Speaking last month, he said propaganda has been launched against the government. There is a gang, a cabal plotting against the state, he said.

Far-reaching allegations

More than 10,000 anti-corruption protesters took to the streets of Ankara last week.

Gul Berna Ozcan of Royal Holloway University of London said the allegations extend to the top of Turkish business and politics.

“Corruption has actually been increasing as the economy got bigger and more affluent," said Ozcan. "The most critical part of the current government’s corruption index so to speak has to do with public procurements, municipal services, land planning, urban planning and privatization, in particular of former state assets.”

The scandal has seen three Cabinet ministers resign. Several police chiefs and 350 police officers have been fired. Dozens have been arrested.

Observers say the purge is targeting followers of a powerful conservative movement known as Hizmet, founded by a U.S.-based Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen.

“The Gulen movement, which is a form of solidarity platform, has also been part of this economic reallocation. Reallocation through privatization, municipal real estate arrangements… And they perhaps have been increasingly squeezed out of these big fortunes,” said Ozcan.

Faltering economy

An average economic growth rate of 5.2% per year during the last decade has helped Erdogan win three terms in office. But since 2011, that growth has begun to falter, said Fadi Hakura, Turkey analyst at policy institute Chatham House.

“Now that the pie is shrinking, each side wants to have a bigger slice of a shrinking pie, and that’s generating an enormous amount of feuding and disagreement between conservative forces in Turkey,” said Hakura.

Hakura said Turkey has become stuck in what economists call a middle-income trap. “What is important is productivity growth, the quality of human capital, robust state institutions, transparency and the rule of law. And on all these criteria, Turkey is seriously lacking."

And the latest corruption allegations spell further economic trouble, said Ozcan. “The rule of law is definitely in serious danger. No one would like to invest in a country where the judiciary is controlled by the government.”

Erdogan claims the allegations are false and aimed at derailing his bid to become president in elections scheduled for September.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid