Since a secret two-year graft probe hit the surface on Dec.17 — bringing into the spotlight allegations that three sons of cabinet members in a close-knit network abused their fathers’ power and received bribes, tearing apart the government’s self-declared presumption of innocence in the fight against corruption since it came to power over a decade ago — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been on the offensive attempting to paint the scandal as a foreign plot against his government.
Speaking in Giresun, a Black Sea coastal city, on Dec. 22, Erdogan said, “In the last week, certain power centers in the security establishment have started to implement a conspiracy plot. They are setting a very illegal, ugly, and a very dark trap hidden behind corruption allegations.” He argued, “Turkey has lowered interest rates in the past 11 years and earned 642 billion [Turkish] lira [$307 billion]. The interest rate lobby is now enraged because this money would have been in its pockets. It lost that 642 billion lira. That is the issue. It wants to get back that money it lost in interest rates. It wants to rob and exploit Turkey.”