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Prime Minister Wiretapped — Vast Corruption Upending Turkey's Government 123

cold fjord writes with an update on the political upheaval happening in Turkey "From the article: 'Dawn raids last Tuesday nabbed almost 60 people and implicated three government ministries, the directors of state banks, and some of Turkey's most powerful businessmen in a massive corruption probe spread across three different cases. Three members of Turkey's cabinet resigned on Christmas Day, and one called on Erdogan to follow suit as accusations of kickbacks, smuggling, and abuse of office continue to mount. The scandal has even acquired an international dimension as suspicions that Iran has been using Turkey's banks to shirk sanctions were further bolstered by the arrest of Reza Sarraf, an Iranian businessmen who is accused of bribing the Economic Minister while coordinating transactions from Iran worth $120 billion. The AKP is scrambling to defend itself by claiming the arrests are a result of a dastardly foreign conspiracy ... while police officials have been removed and reshuffled and special prosecutors appointed to a degree that makes Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre look like exemplary justice. The Turkish press continues to eagerly publish the latest colorful details that emerge from the probe, including police reports of $500,000 bribes administered in boxes of chocolate and news that Erdoan himself was being wiretapped as part of the investigation.' Erdogan has been urged to resign, three days ago Turkey banned journalists from entering police stations, and police are using tear gas on protesters."
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Prime Minister Wiretapped — Vast Corruption Upending Turkey's Government

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  • That you eat?
    And there is corruption there?
    No way

    • I don't know which is worse - the ignorance, or the illogicality, of this puerile post.
    • Here is some trivia: in Hebrew that bird is called 'Hodu' which is also used in that language as the name of a country you call in English 'India'.
      Rumor has it there is corruption there too.
      Is that a coincidence or what?

      • by matria ( 157464 )
        Actually it is fully named "taregol hodu", meaning Indian chicken. If you can find any country in the world where there isn't rampant corruption and bribery and other shenanigans, I'd like to hear about it. Try reading the Miami news for a while.
        • by lxs ( 131946 )

          If you can find any country in the world where there isn't rampant corruption and bribery and other shenanigans, I'd like to hear about it.

          Here you go. [transparency.org] Denmark seems rather nice.

          • I read somewhere that 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.'
            That mayst been some olden goings on tither.
            Seems like they've bettered themselves since.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              I read somewhere that 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.'

              [Citation needed]


        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by cold fjord ( 826450 )

          There is corruption, and then there is Corruption. I can't imagine paying a bribe in the Western world as part of a driver's license application. But there are countries where that is necessary, and similar arrangements are needed for basic interaction with the government or other institutions. That is a fight that various parts of the world fight, and which drives the public mad. The people hate the corruption, but then when given a job in which they can extract payments too few people resist the tempt

      • by ImdatS ( 958642 )

        The funniest thing? In Turkish, that bird is called "Hindi", which assumes that the bird came from India...

        • by fatphil ( 181876 )
          Many languages in Europe have a pointer towards India in its name for the bird. It's named after the town of Calicut in Kerala in most of the languages nearest to me.
      • Well in Greek, a Turkey is called a "Gallos" and and a French mand is also called a "Gallos", and Americans hate the French. Is there a connection ?
    • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @03:40PM (#45783405)

      Its actually pretty interesting to read where the various state names originated. People don't really think about them, but its almost invariably not nearly all that ... impressive.

      Half a dozen at least are named for Kings and Queens (Carolinas, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginias...) New York is named for the Duke of York. Kind of amusing the names stuck what with the revolution and all.

      Indiana is roughly 'land of indians'
      Oklahoma is literally 'red person' in a native dialect
      Caliornia is 'hot oven' in spanish
      Vermont is 'green mountain' in french

      And perhaps most amusing Texas amusingly is "hello friend'.

      With only minor changes in history, we could have had a nuclear superpower named roughly "The Republic of Hey Buddy"

      Names are funny things. :p

      • by Phil-14 ( 1277 )

        Texas is named for Tiles, because one of the earliest parts settled had red soil suitable for making roofing tiles from. Spanish has shifted its spelling/prononciation a bit between then and now.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          I beleive you are mistaken.

          The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word, "Tejas", which means 'friends' in the Caddo language.
          (from wikipedia, but it is cited, and is confirmed elsewhere.)

          Further, it is used as a greeting. So the "hello friends" interpretation is reasonable.

      • by Arker ( 91948 )

        Eh, not quite.

        California means nothing, it's a word that a novelist made up and appeared as a fictional land in "Las sergas de EsplandiÃn" - a book which the conquistadores were familiar with, and from which they drew the name.

        Your other entries appear to be correct though.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          California means nothing, it's a word that a novelist made up and appeared as a fictional land in "Las sergas de EsplandiÃfn" - a book which the conquistadores were familiar with, and from which they drew the name.

          You appear to be right, the origin I had appears to be a minor and largely discredited theory.

          In any case, the premise that it is a 'nothing' word simply because it names a made up land in work of fiction is not convincing. Even if that is its origin, the name likely still means something.


  • police reports of $500,000 bribes administered in boxes of chocolate and news that Erdoan himself was being wiretapped as part of the investigation.'

    That must be a big box to hide that many bills

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      400 bills of 1000EUR each are not that much volume. Europe has money that is hard to conterfit, unlike some countries with paper money on the quality-level of 3rd world countries, like the US.

      • Europe has money that is hard to conterfit, unlike some countries with paper money on the quality-level of 3rd world countries, like the US.

        It was once thought impossible to counterfeit the Euro, but since then counterfeits are up (here is one example [securitymanagement.com]). With modern printing technology improving and becoming cheaper, the counterfeiters are becoming more and more sophisticated. Any security feature that is widely known can be copied.

        Which is why both Europe and the US are constantly working to improve their currency. You apparently are not aware of that, but check out the latest security features. [newmoney.gov] They are kind of cool.

      • When you're a pro, you just delegate the counterfeiting to "Zimbabwe" Ben Bernanke, or Janet "Weiss" Yellen.
      • The biggest euro note being issued is the 500 euro note:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/500_euro_note [wikipedia.org]

        They're nicknamed "bin Ladens": everyone has heard of them, and knows what they look like, but noone's actually seen one.

        The only people who really favour them are drug dealers and other shady characters moving dirty money. It's said that in a study, all the 500 euro notes they could find were contaminated with cocaine. Part of the reason why they're no longer manufactured in many countries.

        • A USD$100 bill first issued in 1929 would be comparable to $1,300 today inflation adjusted. While things are certainly different, there are still plenty of legal things where cash is king and large bills make sense today.

        • I actually had one once (was a birthday present). Got rid of it as soon as possible. Never heard the one about "bin Ladens", though.

        • When it comes to cocaine on currency, I remember reading somewhere a very long time ago that nearly all of it in the US, something like 90%, down to $1 bills, was contaminated.
        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Snopes has an article on cocaine on currency.

          Apparently the idea is that its such a fine powder that it will contaminate all the bills it comes into contact with, the cash counting machines, ATMs, etc.

          The implication of these stories is always that the bills considered "most" contaminated were handled by drug dealers or used to snort coke, but the reality is that very few are but the powder is so fine it can spread easily to thousands of other bills that were never in proximity to cocaine.

      • If you have 1000 EUR bills there is a 100% probability that they're fakes.

        The largest Euro bill issued is the 500.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So some turkish banks were caught helping some unnamedIranian actors.

    Then some members of the Turkish cabinet, bank manages and the prime minister himself have been forced or are about to resign, because ...

    Some providential wiretaps show some wrongdoings.

    Who ordered those wiretaps and when?


    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      The Turkish police didn't really have to place wiretaps to listen in on Erdogan.
      They could have asked the NSA for recordings.

  • The truly bizarre aspect of this is that it involves aspects of a power struggle involving the Turkish PM and a Turkish Imam currently residing in the US.

    Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen wields power from self-imposed exile [ft.com]

    The more extreme Islamists in power are facing challenge from more moderate Muslims.

    I hope it turns out well, or Turkey is in trouble. Erdogan has already managed to yank out many of the checks on the government that have long existed, as well as cozying up with Iran.

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @01:34PM (#45782775) Journal
      You're the first person I've ever heard call Erdogan a Muslim extremist. Authoritarian, sure, but generally he's considered a secularist.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        He's a "secularlist" in name only. He's using the fundamentalists to consolidate power. The extremists have made a lot of power gains during his reign.

      • As a practical matter: I hope the NSA has as much dirt on his replacement, as they had on him.

        I sure wish Snowden would go ahead and release all the NSA dirt on our politicians/judges (esp supreme court judges)/reporters/CEOs etc. But the NSA likely had those files locked down well.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It is his outside portrait that is accepted as secularist which is beginning to shatter since Gezi. In Turkey he has always been known to be a hard roots muslim extremist. But anyone pointing it out is quickly discredited by the major media in Turkey and totally ignored by any media outlets abroad. He even has a conviction for "Inciting people to hatred and hostility" for a religious speech he delivered.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <[mashiki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @03:34PM (#45783385) Homepage

        You're the first person I've ever heard call Erdogan a Muslim extremist. Authoritarian, sure, but generally he's considered a secularist.

        You must not pay too much attention to what he's actually doing and said. If he's a secularist, then it should be very easy for you to explain why he's pushing for the destruction of churches, and blames everything "on da juice"(aka the Jews), and why he just went on a massive hunt, imprison, and disappearing act against the secular members of the military leadership. Going as far as imprisoning members who were responsible for installing a secular government the last time around and making those individuals actually disappear after a very quick show trial, then installing generals who are devoutly muslim.

        Secular this guy is not.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_and_Development_Party_(Turkey) [wikipedia.org]
          Not and Islamic political party, but still #1 amongst Islamists.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            Like most politicians, Erdogan has figured out that people vote with their wallets, and the emptiest wallets you can fill will be your best supporters. From what I've read, the more religious Turks, especially in the interior, are the poorest and a major part of his power base has been through massive construction projects funneled to construction companies owned by these more religious Turks.

            As for his party, Erdogan rose to power when the military still was considered to have veto power over civilian gov

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Erdogan while mayor of Istanbul in the late 90's said "You cannot be both a secular and a Muslim. Either you have to be a Muslim, or a secularist. If you were to be both together, it'd repel like magnetism. It's an impossibility to have them together" (Turkish: "Hem laik, hem Müslüman olunmaz. Ya Müslüman olacaksn, ya laik. kisi bir arada olunca ters mknatslanma yapar. Mümkün deil, ikisi bir arada olamaz" )

          Secular this guy is not.

    • ...power struggle involving the Turkish PM and a Turkish Imam currently residing in the US.

      Has all the trappings of a coup attempt. William J. Donovan would be proud of what his creation has become.

      • If you imprison the political opposition it isn't uncommon for them to leave the country. On the outside they tend to be beyond your reach.

        • It's also not uncommon for them to attempt a takeover from "beyond your reach", especially with a little help from their "friends".

          • Yes, well both Khomeini and Lenin would know about that. I don't think Donovan's crew had much to do with them.

            • With Khomeini they certainly did. The Shah's death was expected, and they needed somebody to put in to keep the commies out. The hostage deal was just PR addon, if not revenge for George Bush being fired from the CIA.. Lenin? I'm sure he was getting help from somebody [wildboar.net]. Heh, turns out to be that same old bunch that the CIA/NSA/DEA/FBI/etc.. actually serve today. There's just nothing new these days *sigh*

              Please note the major economic issue here (and that's what really counts) is that markets are saturated,

  • i am shocked. shocked i tell you!
  • Take a page from the US play book: Just fine their companies a fraction of the profit they made from it, tell everyone it was the "harshest penalties ever handed out" for such a conspiracy, and then reiterate their commitment to the "consumers" affected by the "isolated" case of fraud.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @01:39PM (#45782805)
    Fethullah Gulen [wikipedia.org] has a huge following in Turkey. His disciples have invaded the police forces. They became buddies with Turkey PM to reach their anti-secularist agenda. They crippled the Turkish army [wikipedia.org] using their pawn police and pawn judges.

    The economy looks strong and religious zealots are praising the PM and this is getting to his head. He forgets that it is Fethullah that actually controls everything in Pennsylvania and he openly started fighting Fethullah by banning prep schools, which is the main source of fresh meat for Fethullah. (there must be other behind the scene issues, but we dont know them yet). That link is the Zaman newspaper, which is also owned by Fethullah [todayszaman.com]

    So now Fethullah/CIA is tired of PM's shit and they are unveiling what was already known for who knows how long. Interesting things are unfolding if you are Turkish.
  • Erdogan likes to blame things on others so much. During the huge country wide protests in May and June, he blamed it on foreign powers, interest lobbies, international media and his political rivals. Now he blames them all plus protesters. It isn't hard to guess why; his voters are comparably less educated and more prone to believe everything bad comes from "infidel seculars" and "infidel foreigners". This time he isn't completely wrong however. He has been crossing swords with Fethullah Gulen, leader of a
  • by Twelfth Harmonic ( 3464759 ) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @02:44PM (#45783147)
    The absurdity of the story and the tragic situation Turkey has been in for the last decade cannot be overestimated.

    - This is a power struggle between an Imam who lives in a mansion in Pennsylvania vs. his servant.

    - In the past week, 5 ministers resigned. That is almost %20 of the cabinet

    - In the past two days, almost all the police chiefs in the country were suspended

    - When district attorneys ordered police to arrest some key businessmen, police refused. Eventhough this is a constitutional offense and has a penalty of jailtime, no one is on trial

    - A reshuffle is expected tonight or tomorrow. Definitely before weekend. The servant wants to pick up the pieces but the Imam is bent on destroying them

    - These fractions were once united through their belief in Allah and were hell-bent on destroying the old regime which they claim was built by American servants and godless infidels

    - No Muslim country in the area would interfere if these two fractions are to murder each other this very moment. Just like Assad is murdering his country and destroying history that dates before religion and no one does anything useful

    List goes on and on and on. You wouldn't care and I can't blame you. Just know that these are not much different from any other crazy religious people in the world. Just like anywhere else in the world, there are some people in this country who are harming its future. The mistake is that they are ruling now. This too shall pass.

    • Only the ruthlessness of an Ataturk and the military which succeeded him can bring modernity and secular order to move such an Islamic country forward. Turks rightly admire Kemal Ataturk, but unless enough are willing to pick up a gun they will become prey for the fundamentalists. Theocratic superstitions (all of them) are only able to see democracy as a stepping-stone to their takeover of the State. Those who would resist superstition had better be willing to kill for their freedom. Ataturk and the Young

  • And the NSA thinks "Whew. Dodged that one!"
  • Ahem....well in case you haven't figured this out yet...

    We are fast approaching a pivotal moment in this human history. We are all aware, government employs primarily people who are attracted with conquering, and destroying humanity. However, up until this point you could flee to far off lands, you could cut a kings head off and end his/her reign and the weapons that people who do like government had access to were simple cannon and pistol and later during WWII planes/missiles.

    This means that regionally a c

I THINK THEY SHOULD CONTINUE the policy of not giving a Nobel Prize for paneling. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.