Turkish Political Crisis Deepens As Three Cabinet Ministers Quit; Prime Minister Erdogan Urged To Resign
Submitted by Tyler Durden
The Turkish high-profile corruption scandal, whose fallout has so far resulted in the jailing of the sons of the Turkish minister of the interior Muammar Guler, just escalated sharply following the abrupt resignation of three key ministers from PM Erdogan’s government. Earlier today, first Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and then Interior Minister Muammer Guler submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday morning. A few hours later, they were joined by Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdogan Bayraktar who also tendered his resignation as a member of parliament, however instead of doing so in a complacent manner, he lashed out at the PM and called for his resignation which roiled markets following an earlier relief rally.
As a reminder, Turkey has been shaken by three sensational corruption investigations last week that led to dozens of detentions and 24 arrests of people ranging from influential business leaders to senior bureaucrats and the ministers’ sons. Caglayan’s son Salih Kaan Caglayan, Guler’s son Baris Guler and Bayraktar’s Oguz Bayraktar were among those arrested in the sweep, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, called a “dirty operation” to smear his administration and undermine the country’s progress.
Today’s developments are likely the beginning of the end for the current Prime Minister, because the shakeout “signaled a deepening rift in Mr. Erdogan’s government.”As the WSJ reports, while the economy and interior ministers joined the premier in condemning the bribery investigation as a plot to weaken the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Mr. Bayraktar lashed out at Mr. Erdogan for forcing the resignations, and in doing so also called for Erdogan’s resignation.
“I don’t accept being pressured because of this investigation, which involves bribery and corruption, and being told to ‘resign and issue a comforting statement,'” Mr. Bayraktar said, according to his office. The minister, whose son was questioned in the probe, denied wrongdoing. “To soothe the nation, I believe that the prime minister should resign, too,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the other ministers who quit echoed Mr. Erdogan’s allegations that the probe was politically motivated.
“It is very clear that the operation performed as of Dec. 17 is a dirty setup against our government, our party and our country. I have resigned from my post of economy minister to help bring out the truth and spoil this ugly game, which has included my child and my close colleagues,” Mr. Caglayan said in a written statement, according to his spokesman, who declined further comment.
The local markets were whipsawed by the developments, first rallying after the first two resignations, but falling sharply when Mr. Bayraktar called on the prime minister to quit.
What may be behind the ongoing scandals? According to Al Jazeera, the investigations are widely believed to be linked to the recent tensions between the United States-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement and Erdogan’s AKP that, many analysts say, used to be allies in the past in a struggle against Turkey’s politically dominant military. The tensions, which have been festering for months, peaked after the government’s plans to abolish private prep schools. Gulen owns a large network of such schools. Erdogan recently said that those behind the investigations were trying to form a “state within a state”, an apparent reference to Gulen’s movement, whose followers are influential in Turkey’s police and judiciary.
2013-12-25/turkish-political- crisis-deepens-three-cabinet- ministers-quit-prime-minister- erdogan
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