Erdogan says graft probe a 'dirty operation' against gov't

Erdogan said he views the graft probe as a “dirty operation” with international links to undermine Turkey’s growing economic clout.

Erdogan says graft probe a 'dirty operation' against gov't

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said a "dirty operation" is under way against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and that it aims to topple his government, which has been in power for over 11 years.

Speaking at a press conference along with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Ankara after a bilateral meeting, Erdogan commented on the ongoing corruption probe in which 52 people, including well-known businessmen, the sons of three ministers, and a number of advisors, have been detained as part of a major investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders.

Erdogan said he views the graft probe as a “dirty operation” with international links to undermine Turkey’s growing economic clout and aims to topple his government.

“This has both national and international aspects. Some collaborators in the country cooperate with some international circles to undermine Turkey‘s success. First they tried with the Gezi Park protests to topple us, and now with this ‘dirty operation’,” said Erdoğan, who expressed his belief that the Turkish people will respond to “those circles” in the 2014 local elections.

“Our public banks are among the best of the European public banks and this operation aims to discredit their success,” said Erdogan, referring to an investigation into Halkbank, one of the three main targets of the ongoing corruption and bribery dragnet -- and long a subject of controversies and debates over its role as a conduit for trade between Turkey and Iran.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has said the major corruption investigation is aimed at “tarnishing his government” that has been battling corruption and that it constitutes a “psychological war” against the 11 years of their rule.

Police detained at least 52 people, including bureaucrats, well-known businesspeople and the sons of three ministers, on Tuesday as part of the major investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders. He confirmed that 52 people were detained, including three ministers' son, but said one of the suspects were released.

Arinc said the government's determination to fight against the corruption and bribery has not changed and that the government has been decisive in battling the past corruption cases.

He suggested that the operation constitutes a “psychological war” against the government and that “they will announce in public if they can unveil a gang that is behind [this operation].”

He added that the probe is “planned operation” to tarnish the government that has been fighting against the corruption in its 11 years of rule.

He said it is up to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to decide about the fate of ministers who are claimed to be involved in the corruption investigation.

Cihan

Last Mod: 19 Aralık 2013, 09:54
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