Turkey urged to tackle scandal openly
European officials yesterday urged Turkey to handle a deepening corruption scandal in a transparent manner.
European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele expressed concern over the scandal and said it should be tackled in a "transparent and impartial manner".
In scenes reminiscent of this summer's massive anti-government revolts, hundreds of people took to the streets in cities across Turkey on Friday night, calling for the government to resign following the high-profile corruption scandal that involves sons of cabinet ministers, leading businessmen and the head of a state-owned bank.
In Istanbul, riot police broke up demonstrations using teargas, water cannons and plastic bullets. According to Turkish media reports, 70 people have been arrested.
Protesters chanted "catch the thief", in reference to a highly political corruption probe that started with orchestrated dawn raids on 17 December and is continuing to send shock waves through Turkey, edging ever closer to the heart of the Turkish government.
Seen by many as the most serious challenge to the 11-year rule of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the corruption investigation has targeted persons known to be close to the government of the Justice and Development party (AKP).
Three ministers were forced to resign when police detained their sons following a long-running investigation into allegations of corruption.
Two of the sons are still in custody along with 22 others awaiting trial, facing accusations of corrupt practices, including bribery, tender rigging and illicit money transfers to Iran.