Graft probe targets Turkey’s self-confidence: Foreign Minister Davutoğlu
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu gave a live interview to private broadcaster NTV on Jan 7. AA photoForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu deplored attempts of “creating the perception that the entire government is embroiled in a massive corruption” with the ongoing graft probe, while accusing some of wanting to hurt the country’s “self-confidence” ahead of the three upcoming elections.
“It is attempted to create such a perception as if the entire government is embroiled in massive corruption and Turkey is passing through a great depression. We enacted many revolutions in the last 11 years. But our greatest revolution is the one of self-confidence,” Davutoğlu said during a live interview with private broadcaster NTV Jan. 7.
“[Turkey] is now a country that is being talked about. What’s trying to be done is shatter our self-confidence. The attack is not directed against our government, but against Turkey,” Davutoğlu said.
Davutoğlu assured foreign credit rating agencies will not take into account corruption claims if governance is not at stake.
“[The credit agencies] will look whether a country has or has not lost its capacity to govern. This is the perception that is attempted to be created,” Davutoğlu said.
“No one has the right to draw Turkey in such a mind frame,” he added.
Davutoğlu emphasized that the three ex-ministers whose sons were implicated in the Dec. 17 probe had all submitted their resignations to the prime ministers “from the first day,” adding all the claims should be investigated.
“Necessary measures regarding corruption and the Dec. 17 [probe] will be taken. But [investigation] files that were put on hold for years are surfacing with sudden breaking news,” Davutoğlu said, linking it to the upcoming three elections.
“We are facing a test. If you accumulate all the charges and after one week or ten days say a collective crime that requires a change in the government has been committed, you will betray both democracy and justice. When those come into play as Turkey awaits three critical elections, things come to people’s mind,” Davutoğlu said.
Upcoming local elections will take place next March while the first presidential elections using popular vote is expected to be held in September, before next year’s general elections.
The vast scandal with the sons of two ex-ministers and the chief executive of state-owned Halkbank still being held in custody has turned into tit-for-tat fighting via probes and police purges.
The open row highlights the deepening conflict between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the movement of the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose followers are said to hold key positions in the secret services, police and judiciary and who are believed to be behind the investigation.