I will disown my children if they were involved in corruption: PM Erdoğan
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan addresses an event in Istanbul marking the centenary of the religious vocational school known as İmam Hatip, Jan. 17. REUTERS photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sternly responded to claims that members of his family, especially his son Bilal Erdoğan, might be involved in corruption as the government has riposted with police purges and judicial reforms to a damaging graft scandal.
“[There has been] a slurring propaganda propagated by the main opposition regarding my children. I will say this very clearly: If any of my children is involved in such corruption, I will disown him,” Erdoğan said Jan. 17 during an address at an event marking the centenary of the religious vocational school known as İmam Hatip.
Some deputies from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) have criticized the government, citing reports that Bilal Erdoğan did not testify as part of the ongoing probe. But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Jan. 17 there was no arrest warrant or order to detain issued for Erdoğan’s younger son.
Erdoğan himself had claimed after the probes that the “operation” was targeting him through the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV), a charity NGO which counts his son Bilal among its board members.
“This leader who is disturbed by my children’s social activities and work that have nothing to do with him should first look in the mirror,” Erdoğan said, referring to CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
A second wave of the corruption probe that was aborted after the prosecutor in charge was removed from the case was reportedly set to engulf Bilal Erdoğan. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has accused the movement of the Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen for orchestrating the probes, denouncing the existence of a “parallel state.”
Erdoğan has once again implicitly blasted the Gülen movement, speaking about his teachers during his stay at the İmam Hatip school.
“They have not [attempted] to create and topple governments. They have not [attempted] to become the instrument of international forces. They have not [attempted] to become a state within the state. They have not [attempted] to found a pineapple republic,” he said, referring to Gülen’s allegedly leaked phone conversations where there was a mention of a pineapple delivery from Uganda.
The graft probe stemmed into a debate on the judiciary, as the government moved to increase its control over a key judicial body amid concerns.