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Iran Press TV

Erdogan vows to punish rivals undermining his rule

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:25PM GMT

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned his opponents he will break their hands if they use a corruption scandal to weaken his government.

Erdogan made the remarks in a speech to the supporters of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Sunday in the Black Sea city of Giresun, as thousands of angry protesters took to the streets of Istanbul, calling for the government's resignation.

'Everyone will know their place,' Erdogan said in his latest response to a probe into corruption allegations involving high-profile government officials.

Twenty-four people, including the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Guler and Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Suleyman Aslan, the head of state-owned Halkbank, have been formally charged with corruption.

'Whoever dares to harm, stir up or set traps in this country, we will come to break those hands,' the premier stated.

'They are setting wicked and dark traps in our country, using their local pawns to disrupt Turkey's unity and integrity,' Erdogan added.

In an earlier statement about the controversial graft probe, Erdogan called it a 'dirty operation' against his government.

On Sunday, police fired teargas and used water cannon to disperse more than 10,000 protesters gathered in Istanbul's Kadikoy Square calling on the AKP government to step down.

'Everywhere is AK Party, everywhere is corruption,' the demonstrators chanted.

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

Analysts say the graft scandal is a big challenge for Erdogan, who has pledged to root out corruption in the country.

On Saturday, Erdogan warned that he might expel some foreign diplomats involved in "provocative actions" against the Turkish state.

'These recent days, very strangely, ambassadors get involved in some provocative acts. I am calling on them from here, do your job, if you leave your area of duty, this could extend into our government's area of jurisdiction. We do not have to keep you in our country,' Erdogan told AKP supporters in the province Samsun.

GJH/HN/AS



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