Turkish ministers resign over corruption probe
Two Cabinet ministers resigned in Turkey on Wednesday, days after their sons were arrested in a corruption and bribery scandal that targeted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allies.
Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler both denied any wrongdoing as they stepped down. Their sons, along with the chief executive officer of the state-run bank Halkbank, are among 24 people who have been arrested on bribery charges.
Media reports said police have seized $4.5 million in cash that was stashed in the home of the bank’s CEO, while more than 1 million dollars in cash was reportedly discovered in the home of Guler’s son, Baris.
Mr. Erdogan has denounced the corruption probe as a plot by foreign and Turkish forces to thwart his country’s growing prosperity and discredit his government ahead of local elections in March. His government has won three successive elections since 2002.
As he resigned on Wednesday, Mr. Caglayan said, “It is clear that the operation is a dirty conspiracy against our government, our party and our country.”
The opposition had long called for the two ministers to resign, claiming their sons were taking bribes on behalf of their fathers, and insisted they should not remain in positions where they were able to influence the probe.