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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Erdogan blames 'foreign-backed' elements for dirty plot against Turkey

Photo Gallery: Turkey's Ruling Party Hit by Internal Strife 


Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan urged Turks to rally around him in fighting what he termed a dirty plot by foreign-backed elements targeting "the bread on your table, the money in your pocket, the sweat of your brow".

 
"History will not forgive those who have become mixed up in this game," Erdogan said in a televised end of year address devoted almost entirely to a corruption investigation he says has been engineered in police and judiciary to undermine his government and sap its influence in the Middle East and beyond. 
Police raided offices and homes and detained businessmen close to the government and the sons o
f three ministers on Dec. 17. Erdogan responded by purging some 70 officers connected with the inquiry and blocking a second investigation into big infrastructure projects promoted by Erdogan.
"I invite every one of our 76 million people to stand up for themselves, to defend democracy and to be as one against these ugly attacks on our country," he said. 
The scandal poses the biggest challenge to Erdogan in 11 years as leader, raising fears of a fracture in his AK Party in the run-up to elections and damage to strong economic growth.

 It also pitches him against a U.S.-based Turkish cleric with strong influence in the police and judiciary, accused by Erdogan's backers of conniving at the investigation. The former ally, Fethullah Gulen, denies the allegation.

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