Anger at corruption scandal prompts Istanbul street violence

 

Anti-government protesters clashed with police in Istanbul on Friday amid public anger at the corruption scandal gripping the country.

Rocks and firecrackers were hurled at police who unleashed water cannon, tear gas and plastic bullets as they attempted to quell the demonstrations. At least 31 people, including three lawyers, were arrested, according to the Istanbul Bar Association.

The demonstrations and political turmoil surrounding allegations of corruption helped push the Turkish lira to new lows against the euro and the dollar.

The street clashes were the latest challenge to the government which earlier in the day had suffered another setback when a high court ruling thwarted its attempt to change the rules on how corruption investigations are instigated.

Public anger about corruption has been running high and was intensified by the recent arrest of 24 people  which forced three ministers to resign from the government when it was revealed their sons were among those detained.

The Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said the arrests were part of a conspiracy to topple his administration. His critics have in turn accused him of trying to stifle the investigation. Media reports have said the investigation is looking at alleged illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects.

Fears that the scandal could lead to a military coup were raised when a close ally of Mr Erdogan suggested in a newspaper that it was a possibility, and perhaps even the intention of those behind the investigation, that the armed forces could seize control.

Three military coups have taken place in Turkey the last 50 years and Mr Erdogan has taken measures to reduce the power of the armed forces.

A statement issued by the military on Friday denied that there was any intention to become involved in “political debates” but warned that it “will keep on closely following the developments regarding its corporate identity and the legal positions of its members”.

The court ruling on Friday was a blow to Mr Erdogan because it blocked his attempt to prevent prosecutors from launching corruption probes without the approval of their superiors, many of whom, say critics, are allied to the government.

Before the ruling was made he accused Muammer Akkas, a prosecutor involved in the investigation that led to the recent wave of arrests and who reportedly wanted to summon Mr Erdogan’s son Bilal for questioning, of smearing innocent people and of being “a disgrace”.

On Thursday Mr Akkas had issued a written statement accusing the chief prosecutor and police of hampering the investigation. Turan Colakkadi, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, responded by removing Mr Akkas from the case.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party, condemned the government’s handling of the investigation. He said: “We have entered an era where the thieves are being protected and prosecutors who are going after the thieves are rendered ineffective.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore