ISTANBUL — An Istanbul prosecutor who had been overseeing a sprawling corruption investigation of the prime minister’s inner circle was removed from the case on Thursday, in a new sign of a profound power struggle over Turkey’s judiciary and police forces.
The prosecutor, Muammer Akkas, issued a condemnation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, accusing it of interfering in the judiciary and preventing him from carrying out his work.
Mr. Akkas said that the government had prevented the police forces from pursuing a new round of suspects in the widening inquiry. Among those suspects, according to several Turkish news media reports, is Mr. Erdogan’s son, whose name was on a summons that was leaked to the press on Thursday evening.
“The judiciary has clearly been pressured,” Mr. Akkas said in a written statement, charging his superiors with “committing a crime” for not carrying out arrest warrants, and saying that suspects had been allowed to “take precautions, flee and tamper with evidence.”
The prosecutor’s removal from the case came a day after the resignations of three ministers whose sons had been implicated. One of them, the environment and urban planning minister, Erdogan Bayraktar, broke precedent by calling for the prime minister to resign, too.
Read more at The New York Times
This is a huge story. Here we have shades of Nixon and Watergate in Turkey. This looks like the beginning of the unraveling of AKP’s power. For those of us who are deeply interested in human history and politics, this seems like one of those unique historic moments. Now would be a good time to start paying close attention.