Police in Istanbul have clashed with protesters denouncing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government over a corruption and bribery scandal targeting his allies.
The Dogan news agency says police on Sunday fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd calling on government ministers implicated in the scandal to resign.
Twenty-four people, including the sons of two ministers and a state-owned bank’s chief have been arrested as part of the graft probe which Erdogan says is a conspiracy to discredit his government, as the work of “dark alliances” and has vowed to expose those involved.
Mayor of Istanbul district of Fatih Mustafa Demirand, who was previously detained, and son of the Environment and Urban Planning Minister have been released under judicial supervision, are barred from going abroad and have to show up at a police station once a week.
The suspects are accused of accepting and facilitating corruption in tenders, money laundering and bribery to secure construction permits for protected areas, the Turkish media reported. More than $4.5m had been seized at raids on the suspect’s houses.
The government has removed dozens of police chiefs since the scandal erupted this week, fuelling accusations of an attempted cover up.
The Istanbul demonstration, which was planned to denounce the government’s mega construction projects that have threatened green areas of the city and urban transformation projects accused of causing social destruction, turned into a mass meeting of people to protest the recent corruption allegations.