Graft probe targets peace process: Turkish PM

Graft probe targets peace process: Turkish PM

Graft probe targets peace process: Turkish PM

AA Photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeated his claim that the “parallel state” is trying to derail the ongoing Kurdish peace process.

Speaking during his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) local election rally in Ağrı, Erdoğan reiterated his rhetoric on the “parallel state,” a term his government coined after the graft probe, hinting at the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is believed to have key influence in the police and judiciary.

Erdoğan has long claimed that the graft probe and corruption allegations were a conspiracy against him and yesterday he said the investigation, which became public on Dec. 17, 2013, was targeting the peace process as well.

“If peace is permanent, Turkey will be unstoppable. Our economy will be unstoppable. They did not want that. That is why they wanted to topple the government and stop the [peace] process. We stood tall against those attacks,” he said, adding that “the country’s brotherhood can never be broken.”

The state has been conducting talks with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan since late 2012, in a bid to end the decades-old Kurdish conflict in the country.

Erdoğan’s AKP had ties with the Gülen movement until last year, but Erdoğan has been burning bridges since the graft probe broke, saying the Gülenists have been “working against him and his government.”

“They are sending out SMS messages, saying vote for anybody but the AKP. It was right to vote for the AKP two years ago, what changed? The AKP is the same old party. So something must be up with you,” he said, referring to Gülen and his followers.

For his part, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said his party would “stop corruption” if it comes to power.

“They said they would stop corruption if they come to power. Citizens voted for them. But on Dec. 17, 2013, their masks fell,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during his rally in Ardahan.

He also referred to his past as a top official in Turkey’s social security institution, saying he managed “Turkey’s second biggest budget and was never accused of thievery or corruption.”

“They can never accuse me of that. On the day I entered politics, I put a statement of my assets online. It was all earned through my own sweat,” the CHP leader said.