PM Erdoğan denounces 'plot' against Turkey at luncheon with journalists and NGO representatives
ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gathered with NGO representatives, columnists and newspaper executives at his Dolmabahçe office in Istanbul Jan. 4. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan labeled the political crisis a "plot" against Turkey's "future and stability" amid a graft scandal engulfing the government.
At a luncheon in Istanbul on Jan. 4 with NGO representatives, columnists and journalists predominantly close to the government, Erdoğan reiterated his view that shadowy groups in Turkey and abroad are conspiring to oust him from power.
"What they wanted to do was an attempted assassination of the national will," Erdoğan said.
"They tried to carry out a judicial coup in Turkey.... But we are going to oppose this operation, this December 17 plot that targeted the future, the stability of our country," Erdoğan added, referring to the to the vast corruption investigation that led to the arrests on December 17 of key allies including high-profile businessmen and the sons of former ministers.
Five lawmakers resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) due to the scandal.
Erdoğan on Jan. 4 expressed confidence that Turkey would overcome its current difficulties. He pointed to municipal elections set for March as a test for the regime in upcoming presidential elections in August. "We will not allow a cloud to be cast over Turkey's future," he said.
Erdoğan's statements come as President Abdullah Gül has promised that any corruption would not be hushed up.
Government officials have accused followers of U.S.-exiled Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose movement wields influence in the police and judiciary, of instigating the corruption probe.
A journalist at the Erdoğan meeting Jan. 4 said the premier told them that he had received a letter from Gülen's movement, "possibly drafted by Gülen himself", calling for reconciliation between the two sides.