TEMPO.CO, Ankara – Around 20,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Ankara to protest against corruption scandal in the government. The protesters said that it is time for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to step down.
Erdogan, who just got back from his state visit to several Asian countries for a week, was greeted with thousands of protesters who gathered at Ankara's Sihhiye Square, chanting "revolution will clean this filth" and "they are thieves."
Lami Ozgen, one of the protest leaders, said that the scandal revealed the true face of the government under Erdogan.
"The crisis has made it known to the public how those who abuse religion and faith, are fond of wealth, luxury and splendour," Ozgen said.
The corruption scandal involving Erdogan's close allies has shaken the government. This scandal is Erdogan's biggest challenge during his 11 years of power. The scandal emerged in December 17, 2013, when some public figures, including businessmen and minister's children, were arrested for alleged bribery in construction projects and money transfer to Iran.
Erdogan, who is supported by the AKP party, reacted to the scandal by saying his former ally Fethullah Gulen, escaped to the United States after convincing the police and judiciary to oppose him. Erdogan instead accused the police and prosecutor's investigation as an act of coup' against his administration and fired dozens of police and prosecutors.
REUTERS | AL-JAZEERA | RAJU FEBRIAN