Protesters in Istanbul denounce Turkish government's graft scandal

Dec. 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Demonstrators in Istanbul, Turkey, protesting government corruption and bribery alleged in a graft probe, clashed with police Friday.

Riot police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons at protesters attempting to gather on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue. The demonstrators, chanting "Everywhere bribery, everywhere corruption," urged the government to resign amid accusations that led to the resignations of cabinet ministers and party officials, CNN reported.

There were no reports of injuries or arrests.

Justice and Development Party deputies Ertugrul Gunay, Erdal Kalkan and Haluk Ozdalga announced their resignations Friday after being referred to the party's disciplinary board for expulsion, Today's Zaman reported. The three were accused of disparaging the government, both verbally and in written remarks.

Gurnay was under fire for criticizing a new series of regulations that forces police chiefs to inform their superiors when told to open an operation by prosecutors, saying it was a violation of the constitution.

Kalkan was referred to the disciplinary board for criticizing the Turkish government's pressure on prosecutors leading the corruption investigation into alleged bribery and tender rigging, Today's Zaman reported.

He tweeted political parties are not the personal property of politicians, but instead belong to the millions of people who created them.

"This will not end here. Our honorable people see everything. Let our people be the arbitrator [in this case]," Kalkan tweeted.

The magnitude of corruption uncovered thus far in the investigation, which began in 2012, is estimated at about $100 billion, the newspaper said, adding there are allegedly serious accusations against individuals that include relatives of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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