Prosecutor investigating Turkish government corruption removed

Dec. 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A public prosecutor investigating Turkish government corruption was removed from his position Thursday, saying he was prevented by police from doing his job.

Muammer Akkas was removed from the investigation by Istanbul Deputy Chief Public prosecutor Oktay Erdogan on the grounds Akkas had violated the confidentiality of the investigation, the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported Thursday.

Akkas' removal came a day after he ordered the detention of 30 suspects, including businessmen and government officials. The Istanbul Police Department, which has seen a sizable purge of its top officers in the past week, refused to comply with the detention order, the newspaper said.

A written statement by Akkas, distributed after his removal, complained about leaks to the media and efforts to tamper with evidence in an investigation that has uncovered corruption, bribery and bid-rigging in the Turkish government.

"As a public prosecutor I was prevented from carrying out the investigation," he said, adding pressure was put on his office by his supervisors and by the police, which caused delays that allowed suspects to destroy evidence.

The magnitude of corruption uncovered thus far in the investigation, which began in 2012, is estimated to be valued 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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