Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing fresh calls to resign – as his government faces a wide-reaching corruption scandal, which has exposed the country’s deep institutional divisions.
Hundreds of people across Turkey took part in anti-government demonstrations on Thursday, December 26. Protests were held in Istanbul and several other cities including Izmir and Adana.
In a controversial move, Turkish prosecutor Muammer Akkas was removed from the high-level graft case, which has led to the arrests of the sons of two of Erdogan’s government ministers.
Akkas accused the police of obstructing the investigation, saying: “by means of the police force, the judiciary was subjected to open pressure and the execution of court orders was obstructed.”
However, Chief Prosecutor Turhan Colakkadi told reporters that Akkas had been removed from the case for leaking information to the media and failing to provide timely progress updates.
“Nothing can be covered up. Regardless of who the criminals are, or whose children are involved, we will not allow for the judiciary to be eroded,” Colakkadi said.
Erdogan, who has replaced half of his cabinet with loyalists in a reshuffle, says he believes he is the “real target” of the probe.
There are Turkish media reports that the corruption investigation could be set to reach members of Erdogan’s own family.