JNN 14 Jan 2014 Istanbul : Tens of thousands of Turkish demonstrators took to the streets in capital Ankara Saturday in protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, which has been rocked by a vast corruption probe.
According to AFP, as Erdogan arrived home after a week-long tour to Asia, about 20,000 protesters gathered at Ankara’s Sihhiye Square, chanting “revolution will clean this filth” and “they are thieves.”
Some protesters were also handing out fake dollars with Erdogan’s photo on them.
The government also signalled it may back down on a contentious bid to curb the judges’ powers as fierce scuffles erupted in a parliament commission ahead of a second round of debate over the draft bill.
The corruption scandal implicating close allies of Erdogan has rattled his government to its core, and poses the biggest challenge to his 11-year rule.
It erupted on December 17, when a string of public figures including high-profile businessmen and the sons of three ministers were detained over allegations of bribery for construction projects as well as illicit money transfers.
Forced into a major cabinet reshuffle after the three concerned ministers resigned, the prime minister has responded to the probe, calling it a “dirty plot” to discredit his government.
He sacked hundreds of police chiefs in a major purge and moved to curb the powers of the judiciary.
Erdogan’s government, in power since 2002, has accused loyalists of U.S.-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose movement wields influence in the police and judiciary, of instigating the corruption probe.
Gulen, who left Turkey for the United States in 1999 after being accused of plotting to form an Islamic state, has denied involvement in the graft investigation.