Four ministers face allegations of bribery and wrongdoing
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has all the self-control of a dachshund with rabies and the leeway given to him by Europe and America has only made him more arrogant.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has implied to expel US Ambassador to Ankara for his alleged remarks regarding a major graft probe in which four ministers face allegations of bribery and wrongdoing, and the state bank Halkbank is accused of links to suspicious money transactions and gold-smuggling from Iran.
According to a report appeared on the pro-government Yenişafak daily, the US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone told EU ambassadors in Ankara in a meeting on Dec. 17, the beginning of the graft probe, that the US had asked Turkey to cut Halkbank’s financial ties with Iran.
“We requested end of financial ties of Halkbank with Iran. But they didn’t listen. You are watching collapse of an empire [Turkey],” said Ricciardone, according to the Yenişafak report, regarding the ongoing investigation into alleged bribery and tender rigging.
Speaking at a rally in northern province of Samsun on Saturday, Erdoğan again struck a defiant tone, adamantly rejected any wrongdoing, deeming the corruption case as an international plot to weaken Turkey’s growing economic and diplomatic clout, and topple the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.
Erdogan responds to everything by calling it a conspiracy. He locked up half the Turkish military and half the Kurds in the country on conspiracy charges. So naturally investigating his corrupt Islamist influence network is... a conspiracy.
"These recent days, very strangely, ambassadors get involved in some provocative acts. I am calling on them from here, do your job, if you leave your area of duty, this could extend into our government's area of jurisdiction. We do not have to keep you [Ricciardone] in our country," Erdogan told supporters in the Black Sea province of Samsun, implying to expel US ambassador.
The US Embassy to Turkey has denied any role in the investigation. "All allegations in news stories are downright lies and slander," it said in a statement.
The statement said massive corruption probe in Turkey has nothing to do with the United States, denying reports appeared in pro-government dailies. He warned that nobody should put Turkish-US ties at jeopardy with such false claims.
The Embassy also denied existence of such a meeting between Ricciardone and EU ministers in Ankara on Dec. 17.
Erdoğan's remarks would likely to fuel tension between two allies amid ongoing corruption investigation.
Erdogan and his AKP allies control much of the media and it would be in their interest to manufacture such remarks in order to shift attention from their corruption to an American conspiracy.