Turkish prosecutor says corruption probe blocked
AFP , Thursday 26 Dec 2013
A Turkish prosecutor said on Thursday he had been prevented from expanding a corruption investigation that has touched the heart of the government, alleging pressure on the judiciary.
"All my colleagues and the public should be aware that I, as public prosecutor, have been prevented from launching an investigation," Muammer Akkas said in a statement.
A high-level bribery and corruption investigation ensnaring former ministers and top businessmen has prompted a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after three ministers stepped down on Wednesday.
The prosecutor's statement comes a day after media reports that he ordered the detention of 30 more suspects including lawmakers and businessmen, as part of the widening corruption probe.
"Despite a meeting with the (Istanbul) police chiefs who would oversee the operation at the court building, I found out that the court ruling and the detention decision had not been implemented," Akkas said.
Political observers have linked the probe to tensions between Erdogan's government and followers of the influential Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who hold key positions in the police and judiciary.
Erdogan has responded to the operation by sacking dozens of police chiefs.
He says he is fighting against a "state within a state", widely seen as a reference to the influential Gulenist movement, a key backer of his government when he first came to power in 2002.