Turkey PM promises to punish rivals
FILE – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses news conference, Ankara, Dec. 18, 2013.
Turkey’s prime minister has warned his rivals he will go after them and – in his words – “break their hands,” if they use a widening graft scandal to undermine his rule. He made the comment Sunday as throngs of angry protesters continued to call for the government’s resignation.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the corruption inquiry as the work of “dark alliances” and has vowed to expose those involved.
Turkish police fired water cannons and tear gas in Istanbul to disperse thousands of people protesting against alleged corruption in which scores of people, including sons of Cabinet ministers, have been arrested. The demonstrators also protested against the government’s urbanization plans.
The protesters gathered in the city’s Kadikoy Square and called for the resignation of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party government.
The prime minister has responded to the probe with a purge in the police force, dismissing police officials for cooperating with the investigation without permission.
Ambitious urban development projects led by Erdogan, a former Istanbul mayor, were one cause of massive anti-government protests in June sparked by a police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in against plans to demolish a park in Istanbul.
At least six people died and 8,000 were hurt in three weeks of nationwide demonstrations against Mr. Erdogan’s government.