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Thursday, 19 April 2018

TIMELINE: Turkey's political crisis

AFP , Wednesday 22 Jan 2014
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses a news conference after meeting European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels January 21, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Here are the key developments in Turkey, in the grip of an escalating political crisis since mid-December:


- December 17: Turkish police detain dozens of people close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of an investigation into bribery in construction projects, gold smuggling and alleged illicit money transfers to Iran.

Those detained include the sons of the interior, economy and environment ministers and the head of state bank Halkbank.

- December 18: Erdogan calls the probe a "dirty" operation to smear his government, blaming followers of US-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdogan says those behind the raids are acting like a "state within a state". Gulen has many supporters in the police and the judiciary.

- More than 100 police chiefs are sacked, including the Istanbul police chief, for "abusing their power".
The main opposition party calls for Erdogan to resign.

- December 22: Thousands join anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul. Erdogan threatens to "break those hands" that use the corruption scandal to oppose him.

- December 25: Erdogan announces a cabinet reshuffle, replacing almost half his key ministers after three resigned.
- Thousands demonstrate in Istanbul, Ankara and the western port city of Izmir to demand Erdogan's resignation.

- December 26: A state prosecutor says "clear pressure" from other prosecutors and police stymied more arrests including Erdogan's son.


- January 2: The lira hits a new low against the dollar, shares also drop.

- The military demands a retrial for army officers convicted of plotting to topple the government, alleging fabricated evidence. Erdogan, who had sought to clip the wings of the military, later says he favours retrials.

- January 7: The government fires 350 more police in Ankara, including heads of major departments. The following day the deputy national security chief becomes the biggest head to roll.

- January 10: A parliament committee begins to debate a controversial bill aimed at curbing the powers of the top independent judicial body.

- January 14: Police conduct raids against Al-Qaeda in several cities and target the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), an Islamic charity close to the government accused of sending arms to Syrian rebels.

- January 15: Erdogan declares open war on an "empire of fear" he says is being created by Gulen loyalists.

- January 16: Authorities reassign 20 more senior prosecutors.

- January 17: Erdogan rejects allegations his son is involved in the corruption scandal.

- January 18: Local media say the purge of police and prosecutors has extended to the banking and telecoms sectors and to state television.

- January 21: Erdogan holds talks in Brussels to advance Turkey's EU push.
- The lira hits a record low of 2.26 to the dollar after the central bank holds key interest rates unchanged. - Full parliament starts debating judicial reforms.

- January 22: Almost 100 prosecutors and judges are removed from their posts while 470 police are sacked or reassigned in Ankara.

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