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Purges among Turkish high ranking officials follow unauthorized anti-bribery campaign

December 24, 2013, 18:13 UTC+3 24
Security Council launched an unauthorized ‘counter- corruption campaign’ a week ago
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© EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI

ANKARA, December 24 (Itar-Tass) - Without exaggeration, total cleansing in the higher echelons of the Turkish police is underway in many towns and provinces of the country. The TV channel CNN Trk Tuesday compared it to an earthquake. The crusade is the strongest in Istanbul, where the Security Council launched an unauthorized ‘counter- corruption campaign’ a week ago, which Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoan described as “a foul operation aimed against the government”.

Even though the authorities deem this a provocation, they announced they would by no means influence the investigation and courts and respect any decision. Meanwhile, the media report the prosecutor is investigating corruption among high-ranking officials, with sons and relatives of four ministers of Erdoan’s incumbent cabinet among those already detained. According to Hurriyet paper, the police have brought to court eight volumes on the case dubbed ‘huge graft’. Ten suspects from higher echelons, business circles and banking officials are still in custody, including that of the state bank Halk Bankasi.

The Turkish press believes the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party and head of the government Erdoan is now facing the acutest political crisis in more than ten years of rule. Attacks against the prime minister, observers say, including Turkish journalists working in Moscow, are intended to upset the popularity of the ruling party of moderate Islamists ahead of local elections, due in four months.

It is not only the parliamentary opposition of the secular Republican People’s Party that seeks the party’s overthrow, but also political forces from abroad. The local media believe the current events may have been arranged by the influential radical Islamist, billionaire Fethullah Glen, who is now in self-imposed exile in the US. Glen, an advocate of Shariat in Turkey and former ally of the ruling party, is reported to have confronted it, now trying to make this political force and its leader unpopular on the election eve. The radical Islamist and his numerous supporters have allegedly planted their moles in the police force to unleash the campaign. He may have been also somehow linked to massive anti-governmental protests that started in Turkey with rallies of ‘ecologists’ in defence of Gezi Park in the centre of Istanbul.

The Turkish lira has not remained unaffected amid the turmoil having fallen to a record low of 2.087 liras per dollar. A similarly deep decline was recorded last summer during Gezi protests around the country.

According to DHA agency, once the prime minister returns from a visit to Pakistan, resignations in the government or a reshuffle are possible amid the present confusion.

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