Thursday, January 2, 2014

War watch - January 2 - 3 , 2014 - Iraq caps worst year since 2007 as more than 10 , 000 killed due to sectarian fighting and instability...... Afghanistan releases prisoners held without evidence from Bagram , US upset that Afghan justice system doing its job...... Syria sectarian conflict in focus as Lebanon becomes more involved in the Syria conflict.... Turkey corruption scandal continues to bomb the economy of Turkey


Al Qaeda’s most significant victory in the Syrian war was achieved this week in the Iraqi arena. Its Iraq and Syrian branch (ISIS), under the command of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, resoundingly defeated the Iraqi army which two weeks ago launched a major offensive to relieve the country of the jihadist grip. Baghdadi’s troops were able to throw back the Iraqi army’s crack 7th and 1st divisions and keep going to capture large sections of Ramadi and Falluja, the key Sunni cities of western and central Iraq.

This victory enabled ISIS to forge a territorial chain of control stretching from Ramadi in central in Iraq, 110 km west of Baghdad, all the way to the northern Syrian town of Al-Raqqah, 160 km from Aleppo.

It also brought the Iraqi military offensive to a standstill. Soldiers downed arms and fled and units still intact started falling back toward Baghdad, dumping their heavy weapons to hasten their retreat.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Al Qaeda owes much of its victory to the decision of the Sunni tribes of western Iraq to join and spearhead its counter-attack on Iraqi forces. After smashing whole Iraqi units in the two cities, these tribal militias opened the door for the ISIS jihadists to march in.

Ironically, the tribal militias backing al Qaeda are the same “Awakening” groups which the US army sustained and armed for the battle to root out Al Qaeda from western Iraq during the 2005-2007 landmark “surge” campaign devised by Gen. David Petraeus.

That surge wheel has clearly turned round in favor of al Qaeda. Iraq’s military downfall is the worst it has suffered since the US invasion of the country in 2003 and al Qaeda’s greatest Middle East battlefield triumph, following which its commander Al-Baghdadi has vowed to proclaim the first Middle East caliphate stretching between western Iraq and eastern Syria.

This development has many critical ramifications:

1.  There is no military force in the region capable of going into Iraq and stopping al Qaeda’s advance, which was allowed to happen in consequence of the US army’s precipitate exit from the country three years ago.

2.   Al Qaeda’s fortunes in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula have received a major boost. The Sinai affiliates in particular are in close touch with Al Baghdadi.

3.  The hook-up between them exacerbates the terrorist threat hanging over Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

4.  The Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, has acquired strategic depth in Iraq. Its leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Golani) is expected to announce that his movement will join the new Islamist state.

5.  A merger of the Iraqi and Syrian al Qaeda branches could draw in a host of sympathetic Middle East Islamist groups.

6.  The ISIS victory in Iraq represents a humiliating setback for Tehran, which heavily backed the Iraqi army offensive led by its pro-Iranian prime minister Nouri al-Maliki for cleansing the country of the violent Al Qaeda presence.

7. The US, by its decision to send weapons to the Iraqi army for its engagement with al Qaeda, was shown to have backed the losing side.

8.  The Iraqi army used up all its reserves for this offensive. Its only remaining option now is to fall back to Baghdad and regroup for the defense of the capital.

9.  For Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Hizballah ally, Hassan Nasrallah, the Iraqi military debacle was the worst possible news. It struck them at the tipping moment of the Syrian war. Just as they gained the advantage over the rebel movement, they were confronted with a fresh war arena against al Qaeda now invigorated by its Iraq victory.

Al-Qaeda Seizes Parts of Two Major Iraqi Cities

AQI Used Crackdown Unrest as Cover for Raids

by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2014
Already facing a growing revolt among protesters in Sunni-dominated Western Iraq, the Maliki government has an even bigger problem tonight, as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has used that unrest as cover for raids into two major cities in Anbar Province and has captured parts of each.
The AQI incursion began in Ramadi, where Prime Minister Maliki ordered a violent crackdown on protesters Monday, and quickly spread, along with the protests, into neighboring Fallujah.
Iraqi military sources now say that AQI controls more than half of Fallujah and a portion of Ramadi, and their fighters have set up checkpoints in those areas and declared them part of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” which also includes their territorial possessions in northwest Syria.
The Ramadi crackdown started against protesters condemning the arrest of a Sunni MP, and have now led to 44 MPs’ resignations. As the protests grew in the wake of the Monday crackdown, militants have taken the opportunity to launch attacks of their own, destroying several police stations and freeing large numbers of prisoners. AQI was even more ambitious and captured territory outright amid the chaos.
The split in control of both cities is now more along the lines of local Sunni tribesmen and AQI, which have been fighting one another, and the Iraqi military is backing the tribesmen as the less objectionable faction to their nominal control of the region. Either way Fallujah, a cite that bore some of the worst violence of the US occupation, is smack in the middle of another major battle, and the locals have little choice but to stay indoors and hope the crisis passes soon.

Iraq Arrests Key Shi’ite Cleric Who Leads Militia

Batat Was Behind Cross-Border Shelling Against Saudi Arabia

by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2014
Recently, most of their high profile arrests have focused on the nation’s Sunni Arab minority, but the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced the arrest of a high-profile Shi’ite cleric, Wathiq al-Batat, today as well.
Batat was the leader of Iraqi Hezbollah, and earlier this year founded a group called Jaish al-Mukhtar. Since thenhe’s talked up plans for regime change in Saudi Arabia, threatened to attack a port in Kuwait, and threatened the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK).
While the Iraqi government has downplayed the Mukhtar Army’s capabilities, it hasn’t been all talk either. The group did attack the MeK at one point, and last month fired mortar rounds into Saudi Arabia.
Batat loudly bragged about his involvement in the Saudi shelling as well, accusing the nation of being in league with the US and Israel and saying the shells were retaliation for Saudi comments on Shia Islam in general. It was the public admission that seems to have prompted the arrest, though details on the exact charges have not been made public.

42 Killed, 69 Wounded in Iraq Bombings, Shootings
by , January 02, 2014
At least 42 people were killed and 69 more were wounded today. Although clashes continued across Anbar province, most of the casualties took place elsewhere in Iraq.
Clashes continued in Anbar province, where security forces were able to retake several police stations. Ramadi came back under government control but not before a police commander was killed.
suicide car bomber struck at a car dealership in Balad Ruz, where he killed 19 people and wounded 37 more.
In Mosul, a policeman was shot dead at a checkpoint. An I.E.D. killed a civilian and wounded another in the Shura neighborhood. In Quosiyat, a bomb killed one civilian and wounded two moreThree gunmen were killed when they attacked a different checkpoint.
A rocket attack killed two soldiers in Qayara. A senior al-Qaeda leader was killedwhen he attacked a checkpoint.
A bombing in Falluja left one dead and five wounded, including children.
In Baghdad, a bomb killed one person and wounded four more in Shabb. Heavy artillery fire may have repulsed militants from entering the city.
Five soldiers were wounded in an I.E.D. bombing in Jurf al-Sakhar.
An oil pipeline near Kirkuk was bombed. The pipeline saw an average of one attack per week last year, but crews are able to make repairs quickly.
A doctor was kidnapped in Baquba.

Over 10,000 Killed in Iraq in 2013, Worst Since 2007

1,180 Killed in December, Capping a Grim Year

by Jason Ditz, January 01, 2014
2013 in Iraq began much the way 2012 did, with violence well down from the levels of the US occupation era. Then the Maliki government attacked a peaceful protest in Hawija in mid-April, and a sectarian powderkeg just exploded.
By summer the death tolls were again rivaling the worst of the US surge-era, and 2013 ended with well over 10,000 dead, and 1,180 killed in the month of December alone. The toll is the worst since 2007.
2013 in Iraq included a 3 and a half month span of relative calm too, before the Hawija killings and this week’s Ramadi killings bookmarked the remainder of the year, killing protesters and sparking ever-worsening tensions.
If something isn’t done to calm those tensions, 2014 is going to be the same, only moreso. Anbar Province is on the brink of full-scale revolt at this point, and the Maliki government’s answer so far is to keep sending the same troops in for heavy-handed crackdowns that only make matters worse. How much worse can Iraq possibly get? Sadly, we may be about to find out.


US Aims to Block Afghans From Releasing Detainees

Review Board 'Exceeded Its Mandate' in Letting Them Go

by Jason Ditz, January 01, 2014
The US military is scrambling to try to block the new round of detainee releases from Bagram Prison, which sense being handed over to the Afghan government is seeing questions of actual evidence, and lacking that, releases.
In the first nine months of review, 650 detainees out of 764 have been released, because no credible evidence exists of them having done anything wrong. 88 of those are the subject of the latest Army push.
Army spokesman Col. Dave Lapan argued the Afghan Review Board has “exceeded its mandate” in ordering releases at all, saying their only two options with the detainees are to either order prosecution if evidence exists, or “further investigation” lacking that.
That’s more or less how the US ran the facility, except without the prosecutions and investigations, but releasing detainees was considered a non-option, and their “dangerousness” was accepted as a given without any proof.
Afghanistan’s fledgling court system is trying to define itself along traditional Western lines of actual trials with real evidence and a prospect of acquittal. That’s entirely foreign to the US military now, and is fueling outrage at the Afghan authorities.


Police officers removed after stopping truck allegedly carrying weapons to Syria


A truck carrying humanitarian assistance to Syria is inspected by Turkish police at the Cilvegözü border gate. Cihan photo
A truck carrying humanitarian assistance to Syria is inspected by Turkish police at the Cilvegözü border gate. Cihan photo
Police officers who followed and stopped a truck that was allegedly carrying weapons to Syria have been removed from their positions.

The officers, who stopped the truck near the Reyhanlı district in the southern province of Hatay on the border with Syria, were removed from their positions when they were still on the scene upon the prosecutor’s demands.

The truck was followed by a team of police from Hatay’s Terror and Organized Crime Department on a tipoff that it was carrying weapons and ammunition to Syria. It was stopped twice by the police, first near a gendarmerie outpost on the Reyhanlı-Kırıkhan road and again on the Muratpaşa road. The police were prevented from searching the truck’s cargo by an official statement from Gov. Celalettin Lekesiz, who said the cargo was a state secret.

The police officers who stopped the truck on the Kırıkhan road and the separate police officers who stopped the truck near Muratpaşa road were removed from their duties.

Also, several chiefs and deputy chiefs from Hatay’s Terror and Organized Crime Department were relocated after the incident.

In the only official statement with regard to the truck, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Jan. 2 the truck was carrying aid to Turkmens in Syria, but did not give details about its cargo.

Upon being questioned about conflicting reports on the truck, Ala told reporters: “Conflicting reports? There is nothing to do. There are Turkmens there. The aid is for them. Everybody has to know one’s own job.”

The alleged presence of ammunition on the truck, as well as the governor's demands that the truck be allowed to pass, have raised suspicions that the state is pursuing secret links with illegal armed groups.


Six Killed in Car Bomb Near Hezbollah Beirut Office

Over 50 Wounded in South Beirut Neighborhood Blast

by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2014
A bomb-filled SUV parked in a commercial district in southern Beirut detonated today, badly damaging the restaurant it was parked in front of and killing at least six people, leaving more than 50 wounded.
The blast was in a Shi’itedominated neighborhood, and just down the street from Hezbollah’s politburo, though Hezbollah officials said they don’t believe they were the direct target of the attack.
Such bombings have become increasingly common in Lebanon in recent months, with spillover violence from Syria regularly focusing on Shi’ite neighborhoods with a major Hezbollah presence.
According to security forces, the detonation of the blast today was timed for rush hour to cause maximum casualties. So far no group has claimed credit for the attack.

In a multi-hour interview with the Guardian, a top, unnamed Hezbollah commander discussed at length his militia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, and the way the group views its role in the increasingly regional conflict.
The commander said Hezbollah views the Sunni Islamist rebels as fighting a war “not just against us, but against humanity,” and that their involvement came entirely because of attacks on Shi’ite border villages full of Lebanese citizens.
The long-standing Sunni-Shi’ite schism has taken center stage in what was once a “Syrian” war but is now largely a regional proxy war between religious powers on either side, with Syria trapped in the middle.
Hezbollah, like many of the combatant groups, feels its involvement is entirely “self defense” against the other side, and that it is being pushed to take a bigger and bigger role in a war in which the stakes are less about territory and more about religion.

Turkey...... Is the military going to weigh in against PM Erdogan ?

Taxes, Inflation, And Now The Military: Turkish Stocks & Currency Re-Tumble

Tyler Durden's picture

With tensions remaining high, the brouhaha over the 'probe' of government corruption daring to find actual corruption rolls on and now the military is complaining of bent judges in their own 'coup' trial:
Add to this the hike in consumption taxes andfears over inflationary surges and the Lira has re-collapsed back to record lows against the USD and Istanbul stocks are re-tumbling.

The Military involvement (via Bloomberg),
Turkey’s Armed Forces asked the prosecutor’s office to open a case against what it said was a plot targeting it in trials of retired and active duty officers for alleged coup planning, Hurriyet newspaper says, citing a defense lawyer in one of the coup plot cases, Haluk Peksen.

Evidence against members was fabricated to target the Turkish Armed Forces: Hurriyet

Security officials, judges and prosecutors ignored defense of members and manipulated evidence: Hurriyet

Hundreds of military officers, including top generals, have been convicted in a series of cases on charges of plotting to overthrow PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s govt

On Inflation and Tax Hikes (via Goldman),
The government hiked various consumption taxes and surcharges on tobacco and alcoholic products, cars and mobile phones, effective from January 2.

We calculate that these tax hikes will add roughly 1.0pp to headline CPI, eradicating almost entirely the favourable base effect (roughly 1pp) set by last year’s administered price and tax hikes. This means headline CPI will be stuck at around the 7.5%-8% range through 2014Q1.

Sustained FX pass-through, pent-up electricity and natural gas price adjustments and possible unprocessed food price shocks (owing to unseasonably warm weather conditions) will likelycontinue to exert upside pressure on headline (and core) CPI. We continue to see end-2014 CPI at 8.3%, well above the 6.7% consensus. However, the risks to our forecasts remain on the upside.

We continue to expect the CBRT to hike (the policy relevant) O/N non-PD lending rate by 225bps to 10% in 2014. More aggressive rate hikes will probably be necessary to anchor inflation expectations, given the large imbalances undermining the TRY.
BofAML also believes the bullish trend in USDTRY is set to continue...

Turkish military asks prosecutors to investigate ‘plot’ claims


The Turkish General Staff has filed a criminal complaint to the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on coup cases,  including the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon trials on Dec. 27. DAILY NEWS photo
The Turkish General Staff has filed a criminal complaint to the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on coup cases, including the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon trials on Dec. 27. DAILY NEWS photo
Turkey’s General Staff has filed a criminal complaint with the AnkaraChief Prosecutor’s Office, asking for an investigation of an alleged “plot” against the military leading to the conviction of numerous high-ranking members of the Turkish Armed Forces in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon coup-plot cases.

The prosecutor’s office launched an investigation yesterday into claims of an inappropriate relationship between a judge at a top court and U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose followers, dubbed the “Cemaat” (Community) or “Hizmet” (Service), have begun clashing with the government.

In its official complaint, the General Staff argued that evidence had been fabricated and manipulated in the coup plot cases.

“The judicial police officers, prosecutors and judges in the trials in which active and retired officers of the Turkish Armed Forces have been judged have ignored the pleas of defense lawyers and manipulated criminal evidence,” the official complaint file said, according to daily Hürriyet.

The move by the General Staff comes just days after the prime minister’s top political adviser spoke of a “plot,” leading to opposition calls for exposure of the “conspiracy.”

“Everybody knows that those who have plotted against their own country’s national army, national intelligence [organization], national bank and the civilian rule that has been enshrined in the nation’s heart could not have acted for the good of this country,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top political adviser, Yalçın Akdoğan, said Dec. 24, 2013, in a column in daily Star.

Akdoğan said hundreds of military officers who were convicted of plotting to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Erdoğan had been framed by groups within the judiciary who are now allegedly orchestrating a widespread corruption probe against Erdoğan’s allies.

It also comes at a time when former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ filed a petition for his release, citing Erdoğan’s statement that there were “gangs within the state” as proof of his innocence.
A lawyer for the Balyoz convicts, Haluk Pekşen, told Hürriyet that officials from the General Staff had confirmed that the criminal complaint was filed.

Pekşen made a petition to the General Staff last week, requesting the military file a criminal complaint following Akdoğan’s allegations of a “plot” against the army.

Akdoğan was apparently referring to followers of Gülen, whose members command a global empire of business, media and education interests.

The convicted military officers have long claimed that much of the evidence against them was fabricated. Recent news reports which said the military chief has requested the government’s help for a review of the officers’ cases prompted some analysts to interpret the ongoing process as a sign of an uneasy alliance forming between Erdogan’s government and the military against the Gülen movement.

Dinner held between army brass and top judges
High-grade officers of the General Staff gathered on Dec. 18 during a special dinner with members of the Constitutional Court and the high military court following, daily Vatan reported on Jan. 1.

The head of the Constitutional Court Haşim Kılıç dismissed the situation of the convicted ex-officers having been discussed, describing the dinner as a meeting of courtesy.

“The Chief of General Staff [Gen. Necdet Özel] is a very courteous person. He, of course, knows speaking on issues that the Constitutional Court is examining or can be subject to review within the individual applications [procedure] can bring us difficulties. He did not mention a word on those issues during the dinner,” Kılıç was quoted as saying by daily Vatan.

He added the event was in reciprocity of the dinner given to Özel and other military officers at the Constitutional Court.

Imam judges claim

The remarkable coincidence of legal action following an allegation by AKP Deputy Chair Mehmet Ali Şahin suggested the parties were moving in concert.

Şahin, also a former justice minister who served between August 2007 and May 2009, has stated he confirmed, at the time, that a staff member at the Supreme Court of Appeals sent a case file to Pennsylvania, where Gülen lives, and asked for Gülen’s call on the ruling.

“There is a criminal case about a person who chairs an important holding and he has been convicted. The person is called ‘the Cemaat’s Imam;’ I know him and I am keeping his name secret. He sent the case file with a brief summary of the case to Pennsylvania in respect to what decision should be made. Can a prosecutor, a judge do something like this?” Şahin said at a public meeting on Dec. 29, 2013.
A lawyer for Gülen immediately denied the allegations, calling Şahin’s statement a “denigration.”

Still, upon Şahin’s statement, the Judges and Prosecutors Union (YARSAV) filed a complaint about the allegations concerning the judicial system, prompting the AnkaraChief Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation Jan. 2 into the claims. In addition to Şahin’s statement, remarks by Akdoğan on the same issue have been handled by the prosecutor’s office as evidence in the investigation file.
Meanwhile, some members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which angered the government by delivering a statement on Dec. 26, 2013, and describing a new judicial police regulation obliging those carrying out investigations to inform superiors as “unconstitutional,” visited on Jan. 2 Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ.

Justice Ministry officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that it was a courtesy visit during which the HSYK members congratulated Bozdağ for his recent appointment to his current post.

Deputy PM Atalay denies list of 2,000 people within ‘parallel state’ given to PM Erdoğan


The claims were relayed by AKP's Burhan Kuzu, a veteran politician and lawyer who chairs the Parliament's Constitution Commission. DAILY NEWS photo
The claims were relayed by AKP's Burhan Kuzu, a veteran politician and lawyer who chairs the Parliament's Constitution Commission. DAILY NEWS photo
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay denied Jan. 2 claims made by his party’s deputy Burhan Kuzu that a list of 2,000 names allegedly involved in an organization within the state had been submitted to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“There is no such thing,” Atalay told private news channel HaberTürk in response to a question over the list given to Erdoğan.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Burhan Kuzu said that a list of 2,000 names allegedly involved in an organization within the state was submitted to Erdoğan via his Twitter account on Jan. 1.

“There are names of 2,000 senior police officers, scholars, bureaucrats, judges, prosecutors, press members and businessmen in the [intelligence] report submitted to the prime minister. The key person of the organization is in the list,” Kuzu also tweeted.

The prime minister and several government officials have repeatedly accused “a parallel state” or “a gang within the state” of plotting a recent graft probe, in which sons of two former ministers are also under arrest for bribery charges, to topple the government.

“The intelligence report submitted to the prime minister included the details of the parallel state organization within the state. A ‘witch hunt’ that would be carried out in 42 provinces is prevented [with this intelligence report],” tweeted Kuzu referring to a second graft probe.

The second graft probe, which targets prominent businessman according to arrest orders, was reportedly aborted after the removal of its head prosecutor, Muammer Akkaş. The probe was said to be larger than the current graft scandal, although Erdoğan accused Akkaş of going after the AKP.
Kuzu’s tweets came after daily Akşam reported that the list of 2,000 people, including senior police chiefs, had been submitted to the prime minister.

Around 150 police officers are given duties of protecting mayors and businessmen with alleged fake assassination claims, and those police officers worked as informants for a group who work against the government, daily Akşam reported on Dec. 31.

Kuzu, however, said on Jan. 2 via Twitter that his tweets about the list of 2,000 people were not his remarks but he was citing the daily Akşam’s report.

“My tweets of yesterday received a large response, but it was completely daily Akşam’s report. I wrote the daily’s report. I am not in the government, so I cannot have a report which is claimed to be given to the prime minister by the intelligence organization,” said Kuzu in his tweets.

Meanwhile, Atalay also said in his televised interview that a general amnesty was not on the government’s agenda. Atalay, however, said that regulations over the return of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) must be considered as part of the further steps of the ongoing peace process. “Not an amnesty, but their return to their homes is already written in the article 221. There will be regulations for the members [of the PKK] who are not involved in any crime and who want to return home as part of the peace process,” said Atalay.


Turkish lira hits new record low amid political crisis


The Turkish lira plunged Thursday to a new low against the dollar and shares also dropped. REUTERS photo
The Turkish lira plunged Thursday to a new low against the dollar and shares also dropped. REUTERS photo
The Turkish lira plunged Thursday to a new low against the dollar and shares also dropped, pressured by a corruption scandal roiling the government.

The lira fell below 2.18 to the dollar while the main Istanbul stock exchange index lost 1.91 percent to 66,503.69 points.

Already under pressure this year over expectations that the Fed will begin to stem a flood of dollars that have boosted global emerging markets, the lira and stock markets have been beaten down further by political tensions in the country.

The corruption and bribery investigation that began on Dec. 17, leading to three ministers’ resignations, has tumbled the currency further, causing it to surpass 2.1 threshold against dollar.

Turkish PM Erdoğan labels graft probe an ‘assassination attempt’


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed once agains the current graft probe with the strongest words, describing it as an 'assassination attempt' during the broadcast of his monthly address to the nation on Dec. 31. AA photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed once agains the current graft probe with the strongest words, describing it as an 'assassination attempt' during the broadcast of his monthly address to the nation on Dec. 31. AA photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described the ongoing graft probe as an "assassination attempt hidden in a package of corruption,” during a message to the people broadcast on television on Dec. 31.

“The Dec. 17 plot is an assassination attempt hidden inside the package of corruption. The Dec. 17 plot is targeting the people’s government. It also targeted the national will, the ballot box and democracy,” said Erdoğan in his monthly message titled “on the way to serve people” referring to a graft probe started on Dec. 17.

Twenty-four people have been arrested as part of the corruption investigation that emerged in Turkey last month, including the sons of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan.

“An organization settled in the state institutions, particularly judiciary and police, has been attempting an assassination attack on Turkey’s stability and security atmosphere with the instructions it is taking from the outside,” said Erdoğan, in reference to the ongoing graft probe being a plot of an organization against the government.

“Some circles organized inside the judiciary are working to take the sovereignty from the people and give it to the judiciary and acted irresponsibly and militantly as if they were doing a judiciary coup,” said Erdoğan.

Erdoğan said that his government was exposed to two attacks last year, the first being the Gezi Park protests that rocked the country during May and June and the second being the graft probe.