Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AA
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has said a "dirty operation" against the government is being carried out, commenting on a bribery and fraud operation that has targeted the sons of three Cabinet members along with around 80 businesspeople and civil servants.
“There is a very dirty operation here,” Erdoğan said in Ankara
during a press meeting on the evening of Dec. 18.
He said there were "some circles inside and outside of Turkey" that are seeking to hinder Turkey from its rapid growth, adding that his government would not permit "political plots."
Istanbul and Ankara
police staged morning raids Dec. 17 as part of a probe into tender fraud and bribery operation allegations, detaining over 80 people.
There are three members of the Cabinet whose sons are among those detainees; Interior Minister Muammer Güler, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan. The suspects are, respectively, Barış Güler, Abdullah Oğuz Bayraktar and Kaan Çağlayan.
Erdogan said the domestic extensions of the "dirty operation" were partly nestled in the government.
"They are also seeking to harm the banks. It is most remarkable. This [organization] has extensions in Turkey and has an international arm," he said.
The prime minister said the ministers whose sons are suspected of involvement remain "sensitive" to the issue.
Five police chiefs and six vice police chiefs were removed from their posts in Istanbul and Ankara
today, daily Hürriyet reported.
Erdoğan said the officers had been removed for abuse of office and similar changes could continue if necessary in other provinces too.