Turkey seems to have given up on the rule of law. The question is when this corruption in courts will undermine investments in the country. With charges of corruption spreading, Prime Minister Erdogan removes police and prosecutors from the case, replacing them with his own loyal people. The attack on foreign powers adds a nice touch. From Foreign Policy:
Erdogan, characteristically, responded by going on the offensive and hurling accusations at his opponents. He attacked the action as a "dirty operation," the goal of which was to smear his administration and undermine the progress that Turkey had made under his leadership. He alluded to a dark conspiracy launched by terrorist gangs, both foreign and domestic that were operating a state within the state. While insisting that Turkey was a democracy, not some two-bit banana republic, he proceeded to engineer within a day the sacking of more than 20 high-level police officers in Istanbul and Ankara, including those directly in charge of the units that carried out the raids. More heads seem almost certain to roll. Rumors that the lead prosecutor supervising the investigations had also been removed were vehemently denied -- though two new prosecutors were suddenly (and mysteriously) added to the probe. Howls of political interference in an ongoing judicial matter erupted. The crisis deepened. . . .
. . . it's about Erdogan and the intensifying megalomania that has become an increasingly prominent feature of his governing style. The man now appears more or less incapable of brooking any challenge to his authority. Egged on by an inner-circle of sycophants who live in fear of his wrath, Erdogan appears genuinely convinced that his personal interests and agenda, and those of the Turkish nation, are now largely synonymous. What he wants is, ipso facto, what the Turkish people need. Anyone who disagrees with him is resisting the popular will. Anyone who criticizes him is attacking Turkey and constitutes, by definition, an enemy of the state, a traitor that must be broken and neutralized. . . .
More detail on the police that were removed from their positions is provided in the WSJ.
Before quitting as interior minister, Mr. Guler had purged about 100 security chiefs from top posts in the police department, accusing them of having failed to notify superiors about the probe. Mr. Erdogan also pushed through a measure that bars prosecutors from conducting investigations without informing their superiors. . . .
Mr. Erdogan also sharpened his criticism of the West, singling out the U.S. and the media. He called the bribery case the work of foreign powers uncomfortable with Turkey's rising economic and political clout. . . .
From the New York Times:
Reports emerged in the Turkish news media on Wednesday that prosecutors were pursuing other high-level officials, but that new police officials installed by the government had resisted pursuing them. This essentially highlights a power struggle within state structures. . . .
Meanwhile, the Turkish government is making sure that the media isn't reporting on all the problems. Turkey has the notable achievement of being worse than other unfree countries such as Eritrea, Vietnam, Syria, Azerbaijan, and Ethiopia. From the Associated Press:
For the second consecutive year, Turkey jailed more journalists than any other country, with Iran and China close behind in an annual report released Wednesday by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
"Jailing journalists for their work is the hallmark of an intolerant, repressive society," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement accompanying the report.
The CPJ found 211 journalists were behind bars in a snapshot survey taken on Dec. 1. The report noted the figure does not include many journalists who were imprisoned and released throughout the year. The CPJ said this was the second highest number of journalists jailed in its survey, topped only by the 232 in 2012.
Other countries on the list of the top 10 worst jailers of journalists were Eritrea, Vietnam, Syria, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Uzbekistan. . . .
Labels: Corruption, Turkey