Anti-government protesters clash with Turkish riot police

December 28, 2013 | By | Reply More

Dec 28, – Riot police used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters who had gathered in both Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, on Friday.

hromedia Anti-government protesters clash with Turkish riot police eu news3Some of the protesters threw rocks or firecrackers at the police and chanted “stop the thief,” in reference to the corruption scandal that has seen several members of Prime Minister Erdogan’s government resign over the past couple of days.

Friday’s clashes followed a ruling handed down by the Council of State, Turkey’s top administrative court, earlier in the day, which blocked a government decree that had sought to require that police officers inform their superiors before launching any investigations.

The Ankara-based court found that the decree “contradicts the principle of the separation of powers.”

Erdogan’s critics accused him of introducing the measure in an effort to try to stifle an ongoing corruption investigation.

Raids result in dozens of arrests

The affair became public following raids conducted on December 17 that resulted in the arrests of dozens of people, including the sons of three cabinet ministers, each of whom subsequently stepped down.

The investigation centers on the state-run lender Halkbank and alleged bribery involving public tenders, gold smuggling and circumventing international sanctions for dealings with Iran.

Erdogan’s government suffered a further blow on Friday with the resignations of three more lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who had been threatened with expulsion for publicly criticizing the government.

Erdogan has dismissed the corruption investigation as a conspiracy against his government. In response to Friday’s court ruling blocking his decree, Erdogan said his government would do “whatever is necessary.”

He also used a speech to a large crowd of supporters in Istanbul to accuse the lawmakers who had quit the AKP over the scandal of having “betrayed us along our journey.”

EU calls for transparency

The European Union, meanwhile, called for the corruption allegations to be addressed transparently.

“I urge Turkey, as a candidate country committed to the political criteria of [EU] accession … to take all the necessary measures to ensure allegations of wrongdoing are addressed without discrimination or preference in a transparent and impartial manner,” EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle said.

He also welcomed the Ankara court’s ruling, saying that if implemented, the government decree would have “undermined the independence of the judiciary and its capacity to act.”

Press coordinator for HRO media – Norberto Lluch contributed to this report.

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Category: European Crises

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