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Has Turkey given up fighting corruption?

Turkey's new government shies away from even paying lip service to fighting corruption, as allegations of graft and bribery at the higher echelons of the state reach as far as the United States.

Following its creation in 2001, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) singled out corruption, poverty and restrictions on liberties as the three main areas of its political battle. Using the initials of the Turkish words, it even coined a slogan — “Fighting the 3Y” — which became one of its most popular ones. Today, 14 years on, the AKP is wary of even uttering the expression “fighting corruption.” Most recently, an anti-corruption commission, created by the AKP itself, was tossed into the dustbin of history by the new government of Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

In a bitter irony, the move came against the backdrop of a deepening US probe into the dealings of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman accused of violating sanctions on Iran with the help of Turkish politicians and bureaucrats. Zarrab was a central figure in a huge bribery and graft scandal in December 2013, which Ankara quickly covered up through a massive purge in the police and the judiciary.

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