Erdogan urges unity in face of 'ugly attacks'

Turkish PM seeks public support in fight against alleged plot in remarks at end of what president calls "tough year".

    Erdogan urges unity in face of 'ugly attacks'
    Erdogan has responded to a fraud investigation by purging up to 70 officers connected with it [AFP]

    Turkey's prime minister has attacked "circles uncomfortable" with the country's success and urged the public to support him.

    In a strongly worded end-of-year address televised on Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Turks to fight against what he called a plot to derail the country, Reuters news agency reported.

    "History will not forgive those who have become mixed up in this game," he said.

    "I invite every one of our 76 million people to stand up forthemselves, to defend democracy and to be as one against these ugly attacks on our country."

    Abdullah Gul, Turkey's president, had also made a plea for unity in his end-of-year remarks, released late on Tuesday.

    "It is our common responsibility to avoid behaviours that could harm the understanding and perception of an independent and impartial judiciary," Gul said.

    Scandal has engulfed Erdogan and his governing AK Party in recent weeks.

    Police raided offices and homes as well as detaining businessmen close to the government and the sons of three ministers on December 17.

    Erdogan responded by purging up to 70 officers connected with the inquiry and blocking an additional investigation into big infrastructure projects promoted by him.

    A total of seven MPs have resigned from the AKP since the end of November, five since the December police raids.

    In his remarks, Gul, who has not been implicated in the corruption investigation, said 2013 had been "a tough year for both our country and the world".

    For his part, Erdogan, in his address, said that all Turks were vulnerable.

    "Whichever party you support, this plot targets all of you without exception, the bread on your table, the money in your pocket, the sweat of your brow," he said.

    "Circles uncomfortable with Turkey's successes, its growing economy, its active foreign policy, its global-scale projects, implemented a new trap set against Turkey."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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