Thousands in anti-corruption protests; Erdoğan defiant


Date posted: December 23, 2013

 

REUTERS, ANKARA   

 
Thousands took to the streets of İstanbul on Sunday to protest against the government over a corruption scandal that has led to multiple arrests, including sons of two ministers and general manager of the state-run Halkbank.

Twenty-four people, including the sons of two ministers and the head of state-owned Halkbank, have been formally charged in connection with the corruption inquiry that Erdoğan has called a “dirty operation” to undermine his rule.

In response, Erdoğan has sacked or moved to different posts about 70 police officers, including the powerful head of İstanbul’s force, in a widening crackdown on the force that launched the investigation.

Erdoğan drew thousands of cheering supporters when he toured the north of the country on Sunday.

But in İstanbul, anti-government demonstrators flooded into Kadikoy Square, where a protest against government urbanisation plans had been scheduled to take place, before they were largely dispersed by police firing teargas and water cannon.

“Everywhere is (Erdoğan’s) AK Party, everywhere is corruption,” they chanted, a reference to the slogan of summer anti-government protests that centred on İstanbul’s Taksim Square, “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance”.

As in the case of the summer protests, the fiercest since he came to power in 2002, Erdoğan has pointed to foreign hands in the crisis.

“They are setting wicked and dark traps in our country, using their local pawns to disrupt Turkey’s unity and integrity,” Erdoğan said in the Black Sea city of Giresun on Sunday.

The Economy Minister and Interior Minister, whose sons were among the 16 arrested on Saturday, echoed Erdoğan on Sunday, saying via Twitter and the media that the allegations were part of ‘big trap’.

“Drity hands”

Witnesses estimated the crowd in Kadikoy Square grew to as much as 10,000 at one point.

“This gang of thieves cannot be ruling this country. The government should resign and all the dirty hands must be tried,” said Pelin Demirci, 26, who carried a banner that read “AKP get your dirty hands off our pockets.”

The prime minister has said the crackdown on people behind the corruption investigation would continue.

“Those who cast slurs on my ministers to reach their dirty goals, you should know that this nation will spoil the game. We will break those hands if they are trying to set traps in this country,” Erdoğan said on Sunday.

Those who attended Sunday’s protest in İstanbul appeared more concerned with the issue of corruption than the Gulen-Erdoğan split.

“The people are not interested in the power struggle between Erdoğan and Hizmet. The most important thing is to catch the thieves and put them in front of justice,” said Kadir Çekiç, 26, an engineer who works in the auto industry.

“I believe neither of them are innocent anyway, but for AK Party’s electorate to wake up and see some of the realities, these operations are very helpful.”

Source: Today's Zaman , December 23, 2013


Related News

İstanbul municipality tears down part of school in midnight operation

The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality sent teams in the early hours of Tuesday morning to the private Fatih College in the Merter neighborhood to demolish the wall of the school as well as a security cabin in the school’s courtyard.

Ankara-supplied clerics spy on Turkish-Australian communities

Turkish imams preaching in Melbourne and Sydney mosques have been instructed to spy on Australian supporters of Fethulah Gulen, an exiled cleric blamed by President Recep ­Erdogan for the failed July coup bid in Ankara.

Don’t draw us into your family fight: Washington

The United States has told Ankara it has no any intention of getting involved into what it calls “a family fight,” denying conspiracy theories suggesting Washington’s role in the ongoing struggle between the government and the powerful Gülen community that has exploded with a new corruption probe. “Please don’t draw us into your family fight here. We don’t want one side or the other to feed this conspiracy idea that we are against the prime minister or against Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi,”

Visually impaired journalist sent to prison over Gülen links

Visually impaired Turkish journalist Cüneyt Arat was sent to prison late on Monday due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement. When Arat learned that a prison sentence approved by an upper court on Sunday, he turned himself in to the police later the same day.

Toward an Islamic enlightenment

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who has put forward an interpretation of Islam that advocates peace, democracy, secularism (in the sense of freedom of religion and conscience for all), science, education and a market economy, and who has supported interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding and respect for people of different ethnic and religious identities and lifestyles, has been the topic of much curiosity for native as well as foreign observers of Turkey.

Samanyolu permission to shoot Ramadan program in mosque

Requests submitted by the Samanyolu Group seeking permission for two of its stations to shoot programs in the gardens of two mosques in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul during the holy month of Ramadan have been turned down by the İstanbul Mufti’s Office.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

4th International Panel for Sharing Coexistence Experience in Korea

The Commissioner for Political Affairs opened the 14th International Festival of Language and Culture

Turkey deserves a civilian constitution – Cemal Yigit

Erdogan Purge Against Gulenists Could Prove Lucrative

Tonyaa Weathersbee: Various forms of Islam revealed in Turkey

Hypocrisy in languages: criticizing Fethullah Gülen, English or Turkish?

The anti-thesis of radical Islam

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News