12/27/2013, 00.00
TURKEY
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Prosecutor accuses Turkish government of stripping him of investigation into corruption

In a written statement, Muammer Akkas said police refused to carry out court orders to seek out and arrest corruption and fraud suspects, and that the judiciary is under pressure. According to the press, Akkas was investigating corruption cases that involved Erdogan's son and had ordered the arrest of 30 prominent people from the Prime Minister's AK party.

Istanbul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A prosecutor who was stripped of the investigation he was conducting into corruption among "government circles" has launched the latest accusation against the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In Istanbul, prosecutor Muammer Akkas said in a written statement late yesterday that Istanbul chief prosecutor Turan Colakkadi had stripped him of the investigation.

The latter had removed Akkas accusing him of not informing him of his moves, something Turkey's Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors said was unconstitutional.

For his part, Akkas claims that the police refused to carry out court orders to seek out and arrest corruption and fraud suspects, and that the judiciary is under pressure.

Akkas' allegations follow Erdogan's decision to replace ten ministers, after the resignation of three of them in the wake of the arrest of more than 50 people, including three sons of cabinet ministers.

The arrests were followed by the removal of about 500 police chiefs, including the chief of police in Istanbul where the investigation had started, an action described by some as a retaliation by the Prime Minister.

According to the press, Akkas was investigating corruption cases that involved Erdogan's son and had ordered the arrest of 30 prominent names of the Prime Minister's AK party.

As was the case during last summer Gezi Park protests, Erdogan has tried to resist increasing opposition and popular call for his resignation by blaming an unspecified "international conspiracy".

Turkey's Watergate comes at a particularly delicate time for Erdogan and his party. Next year, local and presidential elections are scheduled to take place and the current prime minister would like to become head of state, a goal that might be the cause of an internal war within Turkey's Islamist camp.

Viewed as a "moderate", Erdogan is opposed by former ally Fethullah Gulen who is in self-imposed exile in the United States.

Considered much less moderate than Erdogan, Gulen can count on the support of Turkey's current president, Abdullah Gul, who has not been touched by the recent scandal and will likely challenge Erdogan for the presidency.

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