Turkey’s economy and interior ministers resigned Wednesday, local media reported, following a high-level corruption investigation in which their sons and businessmen were arrested. The sons of both ministers are among the two dozen people who have been charged as part of a high-level bribery and corruption probe that has hit Erdogan with the biggest challenge yet to his 11 years in power.

Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler announced their resignations just hours after Erdogan returned from a trip abroad, expected to reshuffle his cabinet.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey since 2002 as the head of a conservative Islamic-leaning government, has described the probe as “a smear campaign” to undermine Turkey’s ambitions to become a major political and economic power. He has responded to the investigation by sacking dozens of police chiefs.

“The operation, which started on December 17, is a clear setup against our government, our party [the ruling Justice and Development Party or AKP] and our country,” Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said in a statement carried by the Anadolu news agency.

Caglayan continued: “I resign from my post in order to let the truth be revealed and to undermine attempts to defame my colleagues and my son.”

Interior Minister Muammer Guler told Anadolu that he had offered his resignation to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the day of the raids, but submitted it in writing Wednesday.

The environment minister’s son was also implicated in the scandal, and Erdogan has been under pressure to investigate the alleged crimes amid calls from the opposition for him to step down.

Two days after the raids, for alleged bribery involving public tenders as well as illegal dealings with the Iranian government to circumvent international sanctions, Istanbul’s chief of police, Huseyin Capkin, was removed from office… see more

source: voice of russia