Thursday 26 April 2018

Turkish PM under fire in claims of corruption

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Richard Spencer

Turkey's embattled prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is struggling to hold on to his position as his son became the latest high-profile figure named in a widening corruption investigation.

Mr Erdogan came out fighting after the loss of three ministers, who decided to resign after their sons were detained in the investigation.

He rejected calls, including from one of the ministers, for him to step down.

"If they try to aim at Tayyip Erdogan through this, they will be left empty-handed," he told reporters on a flight back from a visit to Pakistan, referring to himself in the third person.

"They know it and that's why they are attacking the ministers."


He confirmed that investigators were now looking at a charitable foundation, Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TURGEV), of which his son, Bilal, sits on the management board.

They are said to be looking at amendments to a construction plan for a building leased by the foundation -- to a local Istanbul council -- as student accommodation.

"That place is a student residence, not Bilal Erdogan's hotel," he said. "They want to reach me via TURGEV."

The mayor of the council in question, from Mr Erdogan's moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party, is among those who have been detained and questioned in the inquiry, though he has subsequently been released.

The corruption allegations have frozen much of the work of the government and of the police and judiciary.

The latter are a stronghold of a former Islamist ally of Mr Erdogan's, now bitter enemy -- the US-based leader of a religious and educational charity, Fethullah Gulen. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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