South Korean rail workers protest in capital, Seoul
The European Union has voiced concern over a growing corruption scandal targeting the administration of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a statement issued on Friday, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said he had been monitoring the developments in Turkey with “growing concern.”
The EU official called on the Turkish government to “take all the necessary measures to ensure that allegations of wrongdoing are addressed without discrimination or preference in a transparent and impartial manner.”
The EU statement came after dozens of Turkish officials and prominent businessmen close to Erdogan were arrested for inquiry on graft charges on December 17. However, the premier responded to the investigation by dismissing dozens of police chiefs.
Ankara also tried to change regulations on how inquires are carried out by forcing police investigators to disclose inquiries to their superiors. However, Turkey’s Council of State reportedly suspended the implementation of the regulation earlier this week.
Fule welcomed the Turkish high court’s decision, stressing that the change introduced to the judicial police investigation “has undermined the independence of the judiciary and its capacity to act.”
On December 26, the Turkish prosecutor, Muammer Akkas, was removed from the huge corruption case because he had misled the proceedings and leaked information to the media, said the authorities.
On Friday, Erdogan said the corruption probe against his government is a “smear campaign” planned by outside forces. He has also warned that he might expel some foreign diplomats involved in “provocative actions” against Turkey.
Political analysts believe the graft scandal is a big challenge for the Turkish prime minister, who has pledged to root out corruption in the country.