The sixth anniversary of Turkey’s 2013 corruption case, alleging that several ruling party officials and top businessmen had taken part in a money-laundering scheme to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran,has sparked a wide range of reactions on Turkish social media.
Some 52 people, all connected to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and including Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab and two government ministers, were detained as part of the probe, which then-prime minister Erdoğan denounced as a “judicial coup” against him.
Erdoğan maintains the probe was carried out on the instructions of former ally Fethullah Gülen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating the July 2016 coup.
Turkish authorities quickly swept the case under the rug as 350 police officers involved with the investigation were removed from duty by a government decree.
Government officials, activists and critics on Tuesday looked back at the probe, which led to the resignation of three ministers and prompted the Turkish president to purge the state apparatus, reassigning thousands of police and hundreds of judges and prosecutors believed to be loyal to Gülen.
The probe also cemented the massive falling-out between the Gülen movement and the ruling AKP following years of cooperation.
AKP Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül described the probe as the “infiltration of terrorists into the judiciary”.
“Thanks to the unparalleled wisdom of our nation and the historic stance of our president, they could not attain their trecherous goals,’’ Gül said on Twitter.
Former Turkish national football team star and ex-AKP deputy Hakan Şükür said Tuesday marked six years since he received no apology for unjustly being accused of playing a part in the probe.
“I wonder about the fate of the lawsuits I filed against those lies,’’ Şükür wrote on Twitter.
A member of the Gülen movement, Şükür resigned from the ruling AKP following the probe and moved to the United States in 2015 after the Turkish government issued a warrant for his arrest. Ankara seized his assets following the July 2016 coup attempt.
Some 77,000 people have been arrested and around 130,000 others have been dismissed from state jobs in an ongoing government crackdown on the Gülen’s network since the coup.
“The partner of a thief is also a thief,’’ actor Orhan Aydın wrote, in an apparent reference to the former alliance between the ruling AKP and the Gülen movement.
Armenian human rights activist Arlet Avazyan poked fun at the famous shoeboxes that were part of the investigation, sharing images of boxes with Armenian and French writing on them.
It turns out tomorrow is Dec. 17, she said on Twitter on Monday.
The director of Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, who was arrested as part of the probe, allegedly kept millions of dollars in cash stored in shoeboxes in his home.
Turkish activist Halit Tunç took to Twitter to sarcastically declare Dec. 17 as a day of victory.
“It is thanks to these corruption (schemes) that Turkey has arrived at where it is today. May it be merry…’’ he wrote on Twitter.