WASHINGTON — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called a current corruption probe a “black stain on Turkey’s democratic history” this past week and said it was a major betrayal.
Reuters reported that Erdogan blamed outside forces for the corruption probe, which has imprisoned several allies of Erdogan and his ruling AKP party.
Three of his cabinet ministers saw their sons arrested as well as powerful businessmen associated with his government. Erdogan accused the outside influences of trying to weaken Turkey’s bold foreign policy and attempting to damage Turkey’s economy before this year’s elections. Erdogan apparently offered a compromise to opposition lawmakers to drop a proposal to strengthen his government’s power to name judges and prosecutors, in exchange for constitutional changes.
The main opposition CHP party said that the government’s plans would violate Turkey’s constitution and would only negotiate if Erdogan would scrap the proposals first.
Erdogan has come under fire for strong and heavy-handed action against democratic-minded protests last year, which ran against the general Western perception that Turkey was a fledging democracy. Some fear that Erdogan is turning Turkey into an Islamist-style government.