Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tasked Turkish ambassadors with "telling the truth" about a "treacherous" corruption probe in their host countries, encouraging them to say the investigation is a treacherous plot against Turkey's credibility and foreign policy targets, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
"None of you should be negligent. You should tell the truth to all necessary authorities [in the countries you are serving]. We should take all necessary steps together," Erdogan said in an address to hundreds of Turkey's ambassadors representing the country throughout the world.
"A very important task falls on your shoulders. We expect you to exert more effort to defeat this treacherous plot targeting Turkey by telling your counterparts the truth. I request you to underline that what's going on is not a corruption operation but a coup [against the government] in the form of a corruption operation," Erdogan said.
Turkey's internal political crisis, which erupted after a massive corruption and graft operation engulfed Erdogan's government, also has repercussions on foreign policy as senior government members seriously blamed Western powers for orchestrating the plot. The United States and the European Union issued strong statements urging the government not to hinder the corruption probe and not to take steps that would curb judicial independence.
In this sense, the government's move to increase its control over the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) has caused serious concerns in the EU. Responding to criticism, Erdogan said each EU country had its own form of HSYK. "It's nobody's job to make a statement about Turkey's move over the HSYK. I am sorry, but I won't buy statements like 'these proposals are against the EU acquis.' We know how to read and write."
Important task for envoys
Asking ambassadors to analyze the developments since the probe began on Dec. 17, 2013, and explain them to the world in the correct way, Erdogan said the objective of what he called an illegal gang was to sabotage foreign policy, the Kurdish resolution process, Turkish democracy, the country's economy and the national will.
A coalition led by the "gang" and composed of its members within the police and judiciary, media, business circles and some groups outside Turkey are conducting this plot against the government, Erdogan claimed and expressed his determination to defeat this operation of perception. "They are making great efforts for a smear campaign against their own country. This can only be defined as treachery."
Erdogan said the target of the plot was to stop massive government projects like the building of the third bridge over the Bosphorus or a high speed railway, citing the fact that contractors had also been investigated and that their assets were frozen without the necessary procedures.
"I want to underline one point: The change our government is trying to make with the judiciary is not an intervention into the judiciary. It's a move against this illegal structure within the judiciary. The true face of this organization should be clearly unveiled abroad as well," Erdogan said.
Claiming that a disinformation campaign was being carried out in English and in other languages and that the government would begin informing the international community, Erdogan, however, said the real task fell on the shoulders of ambassadors.
"In this, our visit to Brussels next week is very important," he said.
'We are against al-Qaeda, al-Nusra'
Another treacherous campaign the "illegal organization" is administrating is to give the image that the government is cooperating with radical Islamist terror organizations, Erdogan said. "As a country who suffered from terrorism for the last 30 years, our stance against terror is clear. We disregard any adjective associated with terror: Separatist terror, religious terror, sectarian terror... For us terror is terror."
Turkey denounces any form of terror, Erdogan said. "Al-Qaeda or al-Nusra; they are all against us and we are against them. Turkey is a country that has proven itself in the fight against international terror. You perfectly know the motivation behind this campaign. They think they will get revenge for our humanistic stance on the Mavi Marmara, Palestine, Syria and Egypt. They will surely pay for this treachery."