Three Turkish ministers have resigned over a high-level corruption crackdown in which the sons of three cabinet ministers and renowned businessmen were arrested.
Economy minister Zafer Caglayan, Interior minister Muammer Guler and Environment minister Erdogan Bayraktar, announced their resignations on Wednesday.
Turkey has been shaken by sensational corruption investigations since last week that led to dozens of detentions and 24 arrests of people ranging from influential business leaders to senior bureaucrats and the ministers’ sons.
Caglayan’s son, Salih Kaan Caglayan, Guler’s son, Baris Guler and Bayraktar’s son, Oguz Bayraktar, were among those arrested in the sweep, which Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called a “dirty operation” to smear his administration and undermine the country’s progress.
Bayraktar, while addressing the media on Wednesday said he was resigning his seat in the parliament along with his position in the cabinet.
Announcing his resignation, he said he expected the prime minister too to do the same thing.
“I am stepping down as a minister and a Member of Parliament. I believe the prime minister should also resign,” he said.
Similarly, Caglayan announced his resignation in a written statement on Wednesday morning, calling the investigations a ‘dirty set up’ against Turkey and the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP.
Rejecting any wrongdoing during his time, he said he was resigning in order not to disrupt investigations.
“I am stepping down from my post as economy minister so that this ugly game targeting my close colleagues and my son would be spoiled and the truth would be revealed,” Caglayan said.
The government started reshuflling the Turkish police force hours after the investigation was revealed, moving dozens of senior police officers, including the Istanbul police chief, to passive positions over Ankara’s claims of ‘abuse of office’.