A leading Turkish opposition figure has described Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a two-faced politician who puts on a democratic face in Europe while acting like a “would-be dictator” at home.
“Erdogan is speaking like an apostle of democracy in Brussels, but acting like a would-be dictator in Ankara,” Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted Umut Oran, the deputy chair of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), as saying on Thursday.
Oran’s comments come as the Erdogan administration is grappling with a deepening corruption scandal, which broke out in Turkey in December 2013 after dozens of officials and prominent businessmen close to the Turkish premier were arrested for inquiry on graft charges.
Erdogan also responded to the investigation by sacking dozens of police chiefs. He has also proposed a bill aimed at curbing the Turkish judiciary’s powers and giving the Justice Ministry more authority over appointing judges and prosecutors.
Oran further stated that Erdogan is “destroying the state-governed rule of law, intervening in the independence of the judiciary, hindering public servants who are trying to fulfill their duties and trying to tie up the courts, which make decisions on behalf of the nation, to himself.”
The Turkish prime minister has denounced the graft probe as a “dirty plot” to undermine his government ahead of the country’s local elections in March.
On Thursday, debate at the Turkish parliament over controversial judicial reforms proposed by the government heated up, leading to a brawl, during which a member of the legislature was injured.
The legislature is expected to vote on the bill later on Friday.