Turkish PM Erdoğan slams top business group head for probe warnings
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan greets his supporters during a meeting of the ruling AKP in Ankara Jan 24. REUTERS photo
Turkey’s top business group is the latest entity to be declared a “traitor” for its warnings on judicial interference by an increasingly irate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is sparing no effort to hit out at his perceived enemies at home and abroad.
“The president of TÜSİAD [Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association] cannot stand up and use an expression saying ‘Global capital does not come to a country like this.’ If he says this, then this is treason against this country,” Erdoğan said Jan. 24.
TÜSİAD head Muharrem Yılmaz had registered his concern that Erdoğan’s heavy-handed response to a corruption case implicating some in his government would discourage investment in Turkey.
“A picture that shows that Turkey cannot deal with serious graft claims through the law will raise questions about ‘which world does Turkey belong to’ in countries investing here. Can you accept this?” Yılmaz said in a speech at TÜSİAD’s general assembly meeting held in Istanbul.
Erdoğan recalled that Yılmaz voiced unease with the draft aimed at reshaping the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).
“What is it that you are uneasy with? You have certain ‘salaried civil servants’ in your vicinity; are you making these assessments according to the information they give you?” Erdoğan said in cryptic remarks during a meeting to present his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidates in the province of Ankara.
Underlining that the efforts made to turn Turkey into a “prestigious country” were being seriously undermined by the new set of government-led draft bills, Yılmaz particularly cited the law about the HSYK in addition to the one that will curb Internet freedoms.
‘Absence of stance against coup’
The AKP government has been convinced that it has been fending off a “mini-coup attempt” by elements in the police and judiciary who serve the interests of foreign and domestic forces bent on humbling the country.
Days after a graft probe that engulfed members of the Cabinet was launched on Dec. 17, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said their party had in the past survived military coup plots and attempts in the courts to outlaw it. It would not now yield to a corruption investigation, which he said was targeting the government and was already damaging the national economy.
“Are you not displaying an attitude against the coup attempt? Then you will find us against you,” Erdoğan said with a threatening tone, without elaborating on what the government’s response would be aimed at TÜSİAD.
Deadline to CHP for Sarıgül
TÜSİAD and its president were not the sole targets for Erdoğan during his Jan. 24 speech. Erdoğan indicated he had a file proving the involvement of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) mayoral candidate, current Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, in corruption.
Erdoğan suggested Kılıçdaroğlu posed for cameras with a corruption file about Sarıgül at the time.
“You have until Sunday [Jan. 26],” Erdoğan said in his call to Kılıçdaroğlu. “If you are sincere about being against corruption; then expose the file, otherwise I will expose it.”