Swoboda on Turkish government reshuffle: "last chance to show determination in fight against corruption"
A large-scale corruption probe in Turkey has prompted the resignation of three ministers to which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded last night with a substantial reshuffle of his government, including the sacking of Europe minister Egemen Bağış. Meanwhile, protests against state corruption and the government are increasing in several Turkish cities, with some demonstrations being forcefully dissolved.
Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:
"This is Mr Erdoğan's last chance to show that he wants to fight – and not cover up – corruption.
"The dismissals of police chiefs and officers over the last days are worrying. Ongoing investigations should not be interrupted and officials working on those investigations must not be punished for doing their job: fighting corruption, regardless of whether it occurs in the public or private sector.
"Mr Erdogan and his government must fully respect the principle of separation of powers and guarantee the independence of the judiciary, the impartiality of the investigations, as well as freedom of press. Banning journalists from police stations does not comply with the necessary transparency of a modern, democratic country.
"Turkey will only play the leading regional role that Mr Erdoğan wants it to play, if domestic issues are dealt with in a transparent and democratic way. Therefore, the government should engage in open dialogue with opposition and civil society, rather than conspiracy theories.
"The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament continues to support Turkey's accession to the European Union. To this end, negotiations must continue, notably with the opening of chapters 23 and 24, to address the rule of law and independence of the judiciary."