Turkey's Erdogan Revamps Cabinet As Corruption Scandal Grows
December 26, 2013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a reshuffling of his cabinet after three top ministers resigned amid a growing corruption scandal.
Erdogan announced the replacement of 10 ministers on Decembger 25 after a closed-door meeting with President Abdullah Gul.
Earlier in the day, the economy, interior, and environment ministers stepped down after the sons of all three were detained as part of a massive bribery investigation.
He also replaced the minister in charge of relations with the European Union, who was also implicated in the scandal.
Erdogan has said the charges are baseless and corruption is not tolerated.
'The reason our party has been successful, the reason we took the helm and we have been ruling the country for 11 years is because of our honesty, our commitment to the country, and our determination to fight against corruption,' Erdogan said. 'The AK [Justice and Development] Party does not overlook nor tolerate corruption. Should it do that, it would be undermining its very purpose of existence.'
He dismissed the allegations as 'a conspiracy' on the part of 'international powers.'
'We are facing an attack against the Turkish people and the Turkish republic, which is presented as a corruption probe. Everybody is aware that this is not a corruption probe but this is an obvious conspiracy, a set-up against Turkish politics and people,' Erdogan said.
There were demonstrations against the government reported in Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir.
Erdogan's image is already badly damaged after he ordered a heavy-handed response to antigovernment protests in Istanbul in June.
Erdogan has been in power for 11 years, presiding over a period of economic growth, despite charges of authoritarianism and attempts to undermine the Turkish secular state.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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