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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Huge Corruption Scandal Hits Turkey: Obama's Friend Erdogan Blames US for "Dirty Plot"

Do you remember how President Obama used to brag about his special relationship with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan? In a 2012 Time interview with a sycophantic Fareed Zakaria (http://swampland.time.com/2012/01/19/inside-obamas-world-the-president-talks-to-time-about-the-changing-nature-of-american-power/?iid=sl-main-lede), Obama declared:

"I think that if you ask them, Angela Merkel or Prime Minister Singh or President Lee or Prime Minister Erdogan or David Cameron would say, We have a lot of trust and confidence in the President. We believe what he says. We believe that he’ll follow through on his commitments. We think he’s paying attention to our concerns and our interests. And that’s part of the reason we’ve been able to forge these close working relationships and gotten a whole bunch of stuff done."

Well, given NSA spying on Angela Merkel, I doubt that she still has "a lot of trust and confidence in the president." Erdogan? The Turkish prime minister is now enmeshed in an enormous scandal, which will ultimately force him out of power, but meanwhile he is busy blaming the US for his sorrows. The question remains whether this imbroglio, involving the laundering of payments for Iranian oil and construction bribes (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25514579), could also engender another Turkish financial crisis.

As reported by Yahoo! News on Saturday (http://news.yahoo.com/two-turkish-ministers-39-sons-39-charged-graft-100614961.html):

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed a huge graft probe in which the sons of two ministers were charged Saturday was an international conspiracy.

The case that erupted on Tuesday and targeted 89 people, including some of Erdogan's closest allies, has triggered a crescendo of reactions from Turkey's strongman.

Rattled by the worst scandal of his 11-year rule and with crucial polls three months away, Erdogan has already purged the police command for cooperating with the investigation and on Saturday took it out on foreign ambassadors.

He described the probe into widespread bribery by members of his moderately Islamist regime as 'smear campaign' with international ramifications.

'Some ambassadors are engaged in provocative actions... Do your job,' Erdogan said in televised remarks in the Black Sea city of Samsun. 'We don't have to keep you in our country.'

Erdogan's remarks were considered a veiled threat to US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, after he was reported to have commented on the unfolding bribery scandal."

Notwithstanding Erdogan's attempts to blame the US, the scandal is beginning to spiral out of control. As reported yesterday by The New York Times in an article entitled "Graft Scandal Is Approaching Turkey Premier" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/world/europe/turkish-cabinet-members-resign.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0&pagewanted=all) by Tim Arango:

"A corruption investigation that has encircled the Turkish government moved an ominous step closer to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, as three top ministers whose sons have been implicated abruptly resigned — and one of them, on his way out the door, said Mr. Erdogan should step down as well.

. . . .

The public has been riveted by a flow of sordid details of the investigations leaked to the news media — with photographs of piles of cash in the bedroom of a minister’s son and reports that the chief executive of a state-owned bank had $4.5 million in cash packed in shoeboxes.

Another major worry for Mr. Erdogan now is that anger with his administration will spread to the streets, as it did in the summer with the violent suppression of demonstrators trying to protect a beloved Istanbul park from development. On Wednesday night sporadic protests erupted in some neighborhoods of Istanbul and other cities, with people calling on the government to resign and shouting: “Everywhere bribery! Everywhere corruption!”

On Wednesday morning, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler, whose sons are among 24 people arrested in the corruption investigation, stepped down. A few hours later the environment and urban planning minister, Erdogan Bayraktar, closest among the three to Mr. Erdogan, said in a live television interview that he had resigned under pressure. He also said Mr. Erdogan was personally involved in unspecified property deals that are a focus of the investigation."

Could rioting again erupt in Turkey? How long will it take for Erdogan to resign? Will the scandal impact upon Turkey's financial system?

Stay tuned.

[On Thursday, Muammer Akkas, the Turkish prosecutor responsible for the investigation of this matter, was taken off the case by the Erdogan regime.]

4 comments:

  1. So, Obama and Erdogan are now friends. Oh no, this is confusing. They are not friends. So, who are they?

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  2. Obama and Kerry dispense the word "friend" like no others that I know.

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  3. Whaaaaat? You mean it's *not* the fault of the Jews? How is it that we've evaded the wrath of this leper? Surely Israel must be to blame somehow?

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  4. Anonymous (7:33), I was referring to a style among the young. I noticed that a young relative had a note on her page/site (whatever) informing the world that she and ... such and such (the name of her ex-boyfriend) "are friends now."
    So, I applied this to Obama and Erdogan and ran into problems.

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