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Turkish PM in dilemma amid growing public outrage

English.news.cn   2014-02-27 22:39:46

ANKARA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is facing one of its biggest challenges yet as public outrage and mass protests continue to grow after audio recordings concerning Turkish PM leaked to the media this week.

The audio recordings purportedly showed Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan telling his son how to hide large sums of money from police during a corruption probe.

"Erdogan has until recently been a leading actor in promoting political and economic stability since 2002. Now he turned into a mine adrift that can roll back gains Turkey has achieved," political scientist Mumtazer Turkone said.

Erdogan's government has been wracked by controversy after a corruption probe was launched last December that has implicated the sons of three Turkish ministers, the chief of the state bank and some businessmen. Thousands of police officers, including deputy chiefs and high-ranking officials, have also been sacked in a sweeping purge of departments after an investigation revealed corruption.

Opposition parties have boldly escalated their heated rhetoric against the government, openly calling for the prime minister to resign and face trial.

Deputy chairman of the main opposition group the Republican People's Party (CHP) Haluk Koc said that the government has lost its entire legitimacy and that Turkey cannot move forward with this "dirt."

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of CHP told Erdogan in his parliamentary group speech that "Either you take a helicopter and flee abroad or you resign."

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli called the voice recording "mind-blowing" and urged top prosecutors and other judicial bodies to launch an investigation into the prime minister.

Embattled Erdogan vowed to fight as he lashed out at the opposition CHP and MHP, accusing the two parties of "seeking political gains through the audio recording."

However, analysts agree that the chances of Erdogan continuing to hold power are slim.

"If Erdogan insists on staying in office, new scandals are likely to be revealed and his rule will be shaken even more," said Cengiz Candar, a political analyst.

Sahin Alpay, a professor of political science and lecturer at Bahcesehir University, echoed Candar's position.

"If Erdogan tries to hold on to power stronger than ever, he will lead the country to a major chaos," he said. "The right choice for Erdogan, as Kilicdaroglu suggested, is to resign or leave the country."

On Wednesday, the main opposition party staged a protest against the corruption scandal in Taksim Square in Istanbul where massive anti-government Gezi Park protests took place in May-June of last year.

The rally was led by Mustafa Sarigul, the CHP's candidate for Istanbul mayor in the upcoming local elections to be held on March 30.

Another demonstration took place in Kadikkoy district of Istanbul. Police dispersed a crowd that was calling on the government to resign at the district branch office of the ruling AKP.

Gultekin Avci, a former prosecutor and a regular contributor at Bugun daily, said the Turkish prime minister fails to see the danger that confronts him.

Members of Parliament from CHP also staged a protest in the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday, carrying banners, chanting "There is no place for thieves in parliament" in the General Assembly.

Wednesday's protests followed another wave of demonstrations on Tuesday with thousands of people taking to the streets in 11 cities across Turkey including the one in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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