Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-01-08 08:46:41
Turkey’s ruling party will continue to purge police and judiciary members pursuing corruption charges against government officials and will then seek to prosecute them for attempting a coup, a top party official said.
“My opinion is that they are criminals -- the police and the judges and prosecutors,” Osman Can, a member of the central committee of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, said in a Jan. 6 interview in Istanbul. “If you can destroy this organization, you can save democracy.”
The remarks suggest there’s little scope for an easing of tensions between the government and followers of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan’s party blames Gulen supporters in the judiciary and police for pursuing the graft probes in an effort to discredit it before local elections in March.
Since news of the 15-month secret probes broke on Dec. 17, when the sons of three cabinet ministers were among dozens detained, the government has removed prosecutors and dismissed about 1,800 police officers, according to Hurriyet newspaper. In a new wave of dismissals announced today, the government reassigned Muammer Bucak, a deputy head of the national police force, and recalled chiefs of 15 provinces, including the capital Ankara, according to a decree in the Official Gazette.
The political turmoil has hit markets. Turkey’s currency and bonds have been the world’s biggest decliners since the arrests began, while the benchmark stock index fell 8 percent. Fitch Ratings said yesterday that the turmoil could lead Turkey to lose its investment-grade rating, should it undermine the government’s ability to maintain economic stability. More»