The case is about dubious gold deals with Iran in connection with circumventing the oil embargo and bribing ministers in the course of construction projects. Effects to this day, including the consequences of the earthquake are part of it.
Prime Minister Erdoğan has so far spoken of a conspiracy by the judiciary and police against his government, the party and the country. After his ministers resigned, Erdoğan said at a party meeting in Ankara that his AKP (Justice and Development Party) party would not tolerate corruption. Should this be the case, it would have lost its justification. However, Erdoğan continues to speak of a "conspiracy" and of "dark forces" from outside.
Erdoğan suspects his longtime companion, former ally and financial sponsor Fetullah Gülen to have launched the investigation into the AKP ministers. Until now, Gülen has been considered an Islamic hardliner. In recent years he had built a network of schools in Turkey, with which he became very rich. Many of Gülen's confidants work for the police or the judiciary. However, Gülen is said to have deviated from his former course. Shortly before the corruption scandal became known, former football star Hakan Sükür left the party. Sukkur is considered a supporter of Gülen.
December 17: At dawn, police carry out major raids in Istanbul and Ankara. Dozens of people are arrested on suspicion of corruption, including three ministers' sons. The investigation before the raids went on for more than a year without the knowledge of the government. 23 people have already been arrested. The public prosecutor's office had issued arrest warrants against a further 30 people.
The minister's sons are said to have organized the bribery of politicians in order, among other things, to cover up the Halkbank's illegal gold deals with Iran. In this context, bribes are said to have been paid for various construction projects. According to "Tagesschau" on ARD, investigators found more than 3.5 million euros in cash in a shoebox during a house search of a Halkbank director.
December 18: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls the investigation a "very dirty operation" against his government. The government begins transferring police officers involved in the investigation.
December 20: Powerful preacher Fethullah Gülen dismisses suspicions that his movement may be behind an investigation to harm Erdogan.
December 21: A court remanded the son of Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, the son of Interior Minister Muammer Güler and 22 other suspects. Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar's son is conditionally released.
December 21: The scandal strains relations with the United States. Pro-government newspapers accuse US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone of having announced "the fall of an empire" to EU colleagues. Ricciardone denied. Erdogan threatens unnamed ambassadors: "We are not forced to let you in our country."
December 21: Police officers must now inform their superiors about investigations.
December 22: Journalists are banned from free entry into police stations nationwide.
December 25: Within a few hours, Economics Minister Caglayan, Interior Minister Güler, Environment Minister Bayraktar and, most recently, former Interior Minister Sahin (all AKP) declare their resignation. Until eleven months ago, Sahin was still Minister of the Interior, most recently a simple member of parliament for the AKP. Caglayan speaks of a "filthy conspiracy against our government, our party and our country. So that this unworthy operation against our government can be clarified," Caglayan gave as the reason for his resignation.
Environment Minister Bayraktar dropped a bomb with his resignation and placed a heavy burden on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Bayraktar says: "I was pressured to resign in order to make a declaration to help ease the tension. I'm not making this declaration because a large part of the development plans that are now being investigated were personally approved by the prime minister. I think the prime minister did too should resign."
Even before his resignation, Interior Minister Güler recalled high-ranking police officers in the course of the investigations by the public prosecutor's office - including the police chief in Istanbul and 500 other police officers, some of whom were higher-ranking.
"If they try to hit Tayyip Erdoğan with the corruption allegations, they will achieve nothing," said Tayyip Erdoğan, as so often, in the third person. "And because they know they won't hit me, they attack my ministers."
The sacked Europe Minister Bagis confirmed on Thursday that the government would move closer together and disappoint the forces that wanted to create unrest. "We will develop this country together with those who praise us and not curse us," Bagis said, referring to the Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, whose power struggle with Erdogan is linked to the corruption investigations.
Erdoğan took flight and replaced half of his government in a coup on Thursday night, including ministers who – not yet – have fallen into the shadows. The new Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, took up the gauntlet of the judiciary: On Thursday, the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors issued a statement demanding that all state institutions and officials must respect equality before the law. Investigating illegal activities by government officials is essential for democracy and the rule of law, and the government decree violates the constitution.
27 December 2013 The resignations of ministers had a massive impact on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. In the meantime, the leading index XU100 was down around four percent. The losses decreased to 2.1 percent in the course of trading (as of around 2 p.m. CET). In the course of the afternoon, the leading index lost again and was listed around 5 p.m. (CET) with a minus of 4.2 percent at 66,096.56 points. The Istanbul Stock Exchange closes down 4.2 percent.
"The more concrete the allegations become and the closer they get to his family, the more aggressively Erdogan reacts," says SRF correspondent Werner van Gent. He has lost the serenity and self-confidence that he used to radiate. You can't shake the impression that Erdogan is very worried, said van Gent. "And I think he has every reason to be concerned about the allegations. The currency has lost 20 percent and the stock market has been in free fall at times.”
Now the focus is also on the Erdoğan's fortune. Because the family of the prime minister, who comes from a poor background, is extremely rich today. So rich that a few questions arise: How did son Bilal and his uncle Mustafa Erdoğan get a shipping company and a construction company? How did son Burak get six container ships?
When public prosecutor Muammer Akkas started asking these questions, he was stopped: police officers refused to bring Bilal Erdoğan to the presidium, tax officials quickly warned the Erdoğans, Akkas himself received calls from the very top.
On Thursday, prosecutor Muammer Akkaş was withdrawn from the investigation into the current corruption scandal. He only hopes, according to his statement, that the judiciary will go on the barricades for its independence: "The judiciary was openly put under pressure".
That is exactly what happened on Friday: the so-called Council of State, the supreme judicial authority, blocked a decree with which the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which has been hit by the scandal, wanted to obstruct the investigation. Stephan Füle said on Friday that he was following developments in Turkey "with increasing concern". The changes to police work decided by the government in Ankara "undermined the independence of the judiciary and its ability to act".
28 December 2013 EU concerned about situation in Turkey. The Turkish state is falling deeper and deeper into the crisis. At the beginning of the weekend, government critics were brutally pushed back by the police. "There is resistance everywhere," they chanted and called for the immediate resignation of the government. Their protest was directed against the corruption scandal that is currently preoccupying Turkey.
The police didn't hesitate and used water cannon, tear gas and plastic bullets before the demo officially started. The officials pursued protesters into the side streets of the inner-city shopping mile.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) demanded in the "Bild am Sonntag" that in Turkey "the allegations of corruption in the room should be clarified without regard to the person. Guaranteeing this is a test for any policy based on the rule of law."
The Greens leader Cem Özdemir criticized that Erdoğan had "obviously opted for the Putin model as a form of government". Similar to the Russian President, the Turkish Prime Minister relies on "authoritarian rule and bulging pockets for the immediate environment," Özdemir told the "Tagesspiegel am Sonntag".
Left Party MP Sevim Dagdelen called on the federal government to review its security policy cooperation with Turkey in view of Erdoğan's actions against the judiciary.
For weeks, foreign policy experts talked heatedly about Ukraine and Russia and Khodorkovsky and Putin. But that in a NATO country the prime minister is threatening to throw out the ambassadors of NATO allies, that he is babbling about "illegal gangs" and a "conspiracy" by foreign powers because a number of his ministers have been accused of severe corruption and nepotism, and that his most powerful adversary is not a democratic opponent, but an Islamist preacher who publicly wishes "God" to bring "fire over the homes" of his adversaries, all of which seems to the German public to be quite acceptable and not worth worrying about. At least not in public. One seems to look at the events like the philistines in Goethe's "Faust", who stand relaxed at the window and drink a glass of wine, "when the peoples hit each other far away in Turkey," says Ferdinand Knaus von the "business week".
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