Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sounding more and more like Syrian President Bassar al-Assad, has blamed foreigners for supposedly engineering the corruption probe that has rocked his government.
He appealed directly to the people with a populist cry to support him against some foreign enemy attacking “the bread on your table, the money in your pocket, the sweat of your brow.”
“History will not forgive those who have become mixed up in this game,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in which he focused on the investigation of the police and judiciary and which he charged is part of a plot by foreigners to undermine his regime and diminish Turkey’s power in the Middle East.
After police raided homes and offices and questioned businessmen and the sons of three minsters, Erdogan got rid of 70 people involved in the probe and blocked another probe into large projects he has backed.
The “enemy” allegedly behind the probe is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is based in the United States and who is a former ally of Erdogan.
“Circles uncomfortable with Turkey’s successes, its growing economy, its active foreign policy, its global-scale projects, implemented a new trap set against Turkey,” Erdogan said in his address on television.
He also said that last June’s anti-government protests were part of a conspiracy that was “dressed up in the cover of trees, parks and the environment.