In yet another setback for Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, a senior court has ruled against police prosecutors giving up the information used to charge government officials and their relatives of corruption.
The Council of State, a court in the capital Ankara that deals with administrative issues, blocked a government effort to force police to disclose investigations to their superiors.
Police and state prosecutors unleashed an unprecedented campaign as part of their months-long secretive graft probes detaining dozens of people, among them the sons of three ministers, including European Affairs minister Egemen Bagis, and the head of state-controlled Halkbank.
The revelations, that Erdogan fought hard to deflect by saying they were masterminded by rival religious leader Fetullah Gulen, forced at least three cabinet resignations, with one minister suggesting that Erdogan, too, should resign, as we had been aware of many dealings.
The prime minister ordered a cabinet reshuffle that followed speculation he may call parliamentary elections next year. His AK party already faces tough competition in municipal elections.
After the revelations, Erdogan tried to purge police officers involved in the December 17 arrests and four days later issued a new rule requiring police to share their findings from the graft investigation with their superiors.
A senior prosecutor, Muammer Akkas, said this week that he had been removed from the case and accused police of obstructing it by failing to execute his arrest warrants.
Turkey's chief prosecutor responded by alleging that Akkas was dismissed for leaking information to the media and failing to give his superiors timely updates on progress.
The crisis follows the public outburst in summer when a local demonstration to protect a park in Istanbul turned violent and grew into an anti-administration movement condemning Erdogan’s autocratic rule in all aspects of society, while the prime minister is already facing hostility from the military-controlled "deep state" over his efforts to dismantle the secular Kemalist movement and their conspiracies to topple the Islamist administration.
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