The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 30 December 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on December 30, 2013

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report




Each week The Rendon Group Alert Team will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent.  The Snapshot Report is intended to provide a summary of events on a given issue over the past week as well as a sample of experts who cover that issue.  The Rendon Group does not endorse the positions on issues that the listed experts hold nor does The Rendon Group hold a position on any of the topics chosen for the Snapshot Reports.  As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request.  For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


Turkey Corruption Probe


Photo credit: Los Angeles Times


This week’s snapshot concerns the anti-graft probe that has rattled the government of Turkish PM Recep Tayip Erdogan.  On 17DEC, police began conducting raids and detained a total of 52 of people suspected of numerous offenses including accepting and facilitating bribes for development projects and security construction permits for protected areas in exchange for money. Protests broke out at the end of the week out in cities across Turkey, with demonstrators calling for PM Erdogan’s ouster.


News summary of events related to the Turkey corruption probe during the week of 23DEC-30DEC

  • On 25DEC, Turkey’s environment minister Erdogan Bayraktar, Interior Minister Muammer Guler and Minister of Economy Zafer Caglayan resigned; the sons of Guler and Caglayan are two of the two dozen people charged as part of the high-level bribery and corruption probe. (AFP)
  • On 25DEC, the US embassy in Ankara refuted allegations in some media outlets of a US role in the ongoing graft probe. (Xinhua)
  • On 25DEC, thousands of Turks began protests in Istanbul, Anakara, Izmir and seven other cities, calling on PM Erdogan to step down following the resignation of three ministers of his cabinet. (Xinhua)
  • On 25DEC, PM Erdogan announced a major cabinet reshuffle, replacing almost half of his key ministers. (AFP)
  • On 26DEC, a prosecutor alleged a graft probe has been blocked after “clear pressure” from Istanbul’s chief prosecutor and police commanders. (AFP)
  • On 27DEC, Turkey’s military published a statement saying it will not be dragged into politics amid the deepening corruption scandal. (AP)
  • On 27DEC, Turkey’s top court blocked implementation of a government decree ordering police to inform their superiors before launching investigations issued by public prosecutors. (AFP)
  • On 27DEC, anti-government protests continued as demonstrators in Ankara and Istanbul called for the ouster of PM Erdogan; riot police blasted opposition protesters with water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets in Istanbul (AFP,BBC)
  • On 27DEC, the European Union urged Turkey to address corruption allegations involving close government allies in a “transparent and impartial manner.” (AFP)
  • On 27DEC, Istanbul prosecutor Muammer Akkas was removed from the sprawling corruption investigation after having criticized PM Erdogan’s government for interfering in the case. (NYT)
  • On 2DEC, the Lede Blog reported “Kelime Oyunu,” or “the Word Game,” a popular Turkish game show, disappeared from the airwaves this week after a veiled reference to the widening corruption scandal. (NYT)
  • On 28DEC, PM Erdogan lashed out at the judiciary in a speech in the southern city of Manisa. (AFP)
  • On 30DEC, Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said the political turmoil sparked by the high-profile corruption probe has cost the country’s economy USD100 billion. (AFP)


Sample of Twitter handles regarding the Turkey corruption probe

@abdbozkurt – Abdullah Bozkurt, Journalist, Today’s Zaman

@erdierge – Erdinc Ergenc, International New York Times journalist based in Istanbul

@MahirZeynalov – Mahir Zeynalov, Journalist, Foreign Policy, Today’s Zaman, Al Arabiya

@MohamedHemish – Turkey correspondent for the Atlantic Post and Islamist Gate based in Istanbul

@Turkeyreport – Marc Guillet, reporter based in Istanbul, specializes in economics, politics, media


Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Turkey corruption probe


Ersin Kalaycioglu, political science professor, Sabanci University

“Such accusations are only absurd speculations…In Gezi, he accused the Alevis, interest rate lobbies, opposition powers and international power groups for organizing the protests. And now, he’s trying to build the same links with this corruption investigation. What kind of twisted logic is that?” – Growing Corruption Inquiry Hits Close to Turkish Leader, New York Times, 19DEC13


Oya Ozarslan, Chair, Transparency International Turkey

“There is growing concern that the actions of the government could be considered as interference with the ongoing investigation.” – Turkey: Three ministers resign amid widening corruption probe, Los Angeles Times, 25DEC13


Kerem Oktem, Turkey expert and research fellow, European Studies Center, University of Oxford

“Now it seems the situation has changed completely…It seems the ring around Erdogan has gotten tighter.” – Corruption Scandal Is Edging Near Turkish Premier, New York Times, 25DEC13


Atilla Yesilada, Istanbul-based analyst, Global Source Partners

“Forced to act, Erdogan tried to get rid of his burdens…But this is a political crisis, and it is hard to tell how it will unfold, these investigations may expand in coming months.” – Under Mounting Pressure, Turkey Premier Shuffles Cabinet, Wall Street Journal, 25DEC13


Brent E. Sasley, political scientist, University of Texas at Arlington

“This makes the current struggle over the corruption scandals so consequential. It is one part tug-of-war between the two main elements of Turkey’s Islamist-conservative movement, the AKP and the Gülenist movement (also known as Hizmet, or the Service), one part Erdoğan responding to what he sees as illegitimate criticism of his rule.” – How Erdoğan has reshaped Turkish politics, and what it means for current corruption scandal, Monkey Cage (Washington Post), 27DEC13


Sample of open source research by TRG analysts related to the Turkey corruption probe:


1. Three Turkish Ministers Resign Over Corruption Probe


Media: Voice of America

Byline: N/A

Date: 25 December 2013


Turkey’s environment minister has become the country’s third Cabinet minister to announce his resignation on Wednesday as a result of a high-level corruption probe.


Erdogan Bayraktar announced he is stepping down during an interview on NTV television.  In the interview, he also urged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign.


Earlier Wednesday, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler both stepped down.


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2. Turkey resignations: Corruption or power struggle with Islamic cleric in U.S.?


Media: CNN

Byline: Gul Tuysuz, Ivan Watson and Ben Brumfield

Date: 29 December 2013


Istanbul (CNN) — The government of key U.S. ally Turkey began to crack this week. There are rumblings that an Islamic cleric living in the United States may have something to do it.


But prosecutors in Istanbul have said corruption is the culprit.


Three Cabinet ministers resigned their posts Wednesday, days after their sons were arrested or temporarily detained in an anti-graft sting, semiofficial news agency Anadolu reported.


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3. Turkish Leader Lashes Out At Corruption Probe


Media: Time

Byline: Courtney Subramanian

Date: 26 December 2013


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that he is the target of an unfolding graft investigation that’s led to the arrests of dozens of officials and shaken the Turkish leader’s hold on power.


Those investigating Erdogan and his government in connection to the mass bribery and corruption probe will be “left empty-handed,” Erdogan told reporters from Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet in comments reported Thursday, according to the New York Times. On Wednesday, Erdogan announced an overhaul to his cabinet, replacing 10 ministers just hours after three resigned over the corruption investigation that’s incited protests against the government.


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4. Turkey PM Erdogan’s party turn on him as corruption probe deepens


Media: The Telegraph (UK)

Byline: Richard Spencer

Date: 27 December 2013


The Turkish prime minister’s own ruling party began to turn on him on Friday as he tried to ward off a corruption investigation that threatens his political survival.


Three MPs from Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), the moderate Islamist movement that has dominated Turkish politics for the past decade, said they were quitting.


Meanwhile public anger over the scandal spilled over into violence, as riot police clashed with anti-government protesters who attempted to descend on Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Police used water cannon, tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw rocks and firecrackers.


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5. Amid corruption inquiry, Turkish prosecutor slams police


Media: CNN

Byline: Gul Tuysuz, Talia Kayali and Dana Ford

Date: 27 December 2013


Istanbul (CNN) — A Turkish prosecutor has openly accused police of interfering with a high-level corruption investigation.


“Court orders have not been carried out and there has been open pressure on the judicial process from both the chief prosecutor’s office and from the police force, which is supposed to carry out the decisions of the courts,” Muammer Akkas said in a Thursday statement.


He spoke one day after three Cabinet ministers resigned their posts, after their sons were arrested or temporarily detained in an anti-graft sting, semiofficial news agency Anadolu reported.


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