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Turkey's Cabinet Reshuffled Over Corruption Probe.




Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reshuffled his Cabinet after three ministers resigned over a high-level graft inquiry.

Mr. Erdogan Wednesday replaced the ministers of economy, interior and environment. All three men's sons were detained as part of a massive bribery and corruption probe targeting Mr. Erdogan's allies. The sons are among 24 people arrested last week on graft charges in the corruption case, which involves state-run lender Halkbank.

Mr. Erdogan also replaced his minister in charge of relations with the European Union.

In all, Mr. Erdogan replaced 10 ministers or half of his entire Cabinet.



The case is one of the largest-ever judicial probes into government corruption in Turkey. The investigation has centered on the alleged laundering of money from Iran to circumvent international sanctions on Tehran.

There are also allegations of bribery in the awarding of state contracts for land development.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Erdogan warned his rivals he will go after them and - in his words - "break their hands" if they use the widening scandal to undermine his rule.

As he made his comments, throngs of angry protesters gathered in the city's Kadikoy Square to call for the resignation of Mr. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party government.

The prime minister has responded to the Halkbank probe with a purge in the police force. Dozens of senior police officers were either fired or reassigned for failing to inform their superiors about the probe.

Ambitious urban development projects led by Mr. Erdogan, a former Istanbul mayor, were one cause of massive anti-government protests in June, sparked by a police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in against plans to demolish a park in Istanbul.

At least six people died and 8,000 were hurt in three weeks of nationwide demonstrations against Mr. Erdogan's government.

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