|Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan (R) and Interior Minister Muammer Guler (C) talk at the airport in Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 24, 2013. Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler, whose sons were arrested on accusations of bribery and corruption, resigned on Wednesday morning, at a time when the high-level graft probe has shaken the political establishment of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). (Xinhua/Mustafa Kaya)
ANKARA, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), shaken by a corruption probe into a network involving senior officials, is expected to pull through the crisis and stay in power until the next local elections, analysts say.
The allegations have already taken a toll on the government with two ministers implicated in the probe resigning on Wednesday. More resignations are expected as prosecutors have brought charges against another minister and his relatives in what opposition says the biggest corruption scandal in Turkey's history.
Two sons of Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler, who have both resigned, are among the 24 people arrested on graft charges on Dec. 17 in a case centering on state-run lender Halkbank and involving Iranian nationals.
Commenting on the resignations, the main opposition Republican Peoples' Party's (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said they came a little late. For a week, Turkey's beleaguered Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended his ministers, accusing foreign powers of playing a hand in what he described as a plot against his government.
Political scientist Dogu Ergil said, "resignations were a right decision but came too late", adding "it looks like Prime Minister Erdogan reassessed the hard evidence against his ministers and decided to revise his position."
European Union (EU) Minister Egemen Bagis and Urban and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar are also implicated in the corruption probe according to leaked evidence reported in the Turkish media. The CHP called on these remaining two to resign from their posts as well.
Aykut Erdogdu from the CHP said, "resignations are not a courtesy but requirement both legally and politically."
"The government cannot carry on amid these allegations until national elections which is due in Summer 2015," Idris Gursoy, a political observer in the Turkish capital of Ankara, told Xinhua. "What will likely happen is that after the local elections of March 2014, we will see increased call on early elections," he said, adding: "in local elections, the governing party will lose some support and that will trigger a legitimacy debate of the government."
In the last local elections in 2009, the ruling AKP lost eight percentage points compared with the results of the 2007 national polls. It is expected that the upcoming local elections will deal a heavy blow to the ruling party.
The main opposition CHP has nominated over the weekend two strong candidates for the mayoral race of two key cities Istanbul and Ankara. The elections are expected to be a tight run.
Two Turkish ministers resign over graft probe
ANKARA, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler, whose sons were arrested on accusations of bribery and corruption, resigned on Wednesday morning, at a time when the high-level graft probe has shaken the political establishment of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).Full Story
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