Turkish PM to show ‘no mercy’ to ‘group’ behind graft probe
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at his party's group meeting Jan. 14. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not give any indication Jan. 14 that he would soften his fierce struggle against the Fethullah Gülen community, vowing no mercy for what he called “the illegal gang within the state.”
“If you take pity, you’ll become pitiable,” Erdoğan said in an address to his parliamentary group Jan. 14. “Our democracy escaped the largest, heaviest and wickedest coup attempt ever. Dec. 17 passed into history as a black stain on Turkey’s democracy and rule of law. The coup attempt of Dec. 17 has left all other coups of the past behind.”
Istanbul prosecutors launched a massive corruption and graft operation on Dec. 17, 2013, that resulted in the resignation of four ministers from Erdoğan’s government. The government stopped another wave of the corruption operation that was reportedly set to engulf Erdoğan’s son, Bilal Erdoğan. The government accused the community, known as the Hizmet Movement, of orchestrating the operation and launched a massive struggle to liquidate its sympathizers from the civil service.
“I will not bring the entire judiciary under suspicion. I respect those who are honestly doing their job.
But those who are linked with this illegal organization will not be forgiven by history. It’s been revealed how they set a trick within the state. We have to disclose all of them,” he said.
Foreign powers, lobbies and their local contractors were behind the operation with the purpose of halting Turkey’s growth and of taking revenge for the country’s foreign policy, said Erdoğan. “They ask about these foreign powers; who would win if this operation is successful?”
Plotters are targeting the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Erdoğan said, citing a prosecutor’s attempt to stop and search a MİT truck carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmens in Syria.
“A national intelligence organization of a country can only be the adversary of foreign powers. The prosecutor aimed at our national interests. He served the enemies of his own country,” he said.
“I am filing a criminal complaint against this prosecutor. I ask now the HSYK [Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors]: Why did this prosecutor go to Reyhanlı [on the Syria border] just a week after a terrorist attack that killed dozens of our citizens?” he said in reference to a bombing widely blamed on Islamists that killed more than 50 in May 2013.
Another target of the operation was the Kurdish peace process, according to Erdoğan, who recalled that the same groups wanted to arrest MİT chief Hakan Fidan in 2012 for conducting talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“If we had not stopped this offensive at the time, who knows where my MİT chief would be now?” Erdoğan said.