Facts and myths about Turkey's corruption investigations

As Turkey remains focused on a deepening investigation into corruption and bribery claims, Turkish people as well as the national and international media seem lost between perception and reality.

The investigation is often referred to as the biggest in the history of Turkey. Some members of the government as well as the family of the prime minister are allegedly included in the corruption scandal.

This article seeks to set some of the things straight because in the midst of a growing debate, facts can be easily, and often with ill intentions, be mixed with myths.

What follows are mistakes made when reporting on the probe and facts setting the record straight.

1. Myth: The investigation is orchestrated by a “parallel state” and a “gang within the state” in order to sow discord in Turkey.

Fact: Following the first day of the launch of the corruption investigation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quick to attribute the probe as a work of the parallel state, in a veiled reference to the Hizmet movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. He said a gang had been nested within the Turkish state in an attempt to topple his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

Weirdly enough, while attributing the probe to the Hizmet movement dozens of times, the prime minister and his government members have not shown a tiny shred of evidence to suggest the existence of a parallel state or a gang nested within the state. It is probably the easiest way for the prime minister to find a “scapegoat” to put the blame whenever he feels cornered by accusations of mismanagement, corruption or fraud as he did it several times in the recent past.

During the Gezi Park protests, for example, which began as a peaceful sit-in against a government plan to replace a park in İstanbul’s Taksim Square with a replica of an Ottoman-era military barracks in the summer of 2013 but then erupted into violent clashes with police and spread across the country, the prime minister said an “interest-rate lobby” and “international conspiracy groups” were behind the events. He accused these mysterious entities of speculating in the financial markets during the protests. He did not provide any evidence to back his claims, though.

Furthermore, Gülen rejected any link to the corruption probe in a statement he made in late December.

2. Myth: Foreign powers, the US in particular, contributed to the corruption operation in order to hurt the political and economic stability in the country…

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