Turkey Premier Lashes Out Over Arrest
Erdogan Calls Dawn Raids Part of Plot to Topple Government
By JOE PARKINSON And EMRE PEKER, WSJ, Dec. 18, 2013
ISTANBUL—Turkey’s prime minister said a graft probe that has snared dozens of his political allies was part of an internal plot to topple his government, and promised to retaliate against those responsible as a new round of elections nears.
Authorities on Tuesday detained 52 people, including the sons of three cabinet ministers, for questioning in a case involving charges of bribery and zoning-law violations.
In his first direct response, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan characterized the arrests as part of a criminal conspiracy involving the higher echelons of the bureaucracy, which he accused of misconduct and abuse of power.
…The premier didn’t identify the alleged masterminds, but his comments signaled a deepening conflict within the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.
After a decade in power, the Islamist-rooted party has become increasingly split between supporters of the premier and a faction loyal to a U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen…