Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   23 July

Turkologist highlights factors causing serious blow at Erdoğan's authority

YEREVAN, JANUARY 23, ARMENPRESS. Advancing the municipal elections in Turkey, the situation greatly changed after the founder of Hizmet Hareketi movement Fethullah Gülen called upon his supporters to cast their votes on behalf of the opposition. The Director of Institute of Oriental Sciences of the National Academy of the Republic of Armenia, turkologist Ruben Safrastyan stated this in a conversation with "Armenpress". Among other things the Director of Institute of Oriental Sciences of the National Academy of the Republic of Armenia Ruben Safrastyan underscored: “In my opinion this changes the entire situation, because Fethullah Gülen enjoys the support of approximately 20 million people in Turkey. This is a huge number and that call may create a new situation advancing the upcoming elections.”

On 17 December 2013, the Financial Crimes and Battle Against Criminal Incomes department of the Istanbul Security Directory detained 47 people, including officials from TOKİ (Housing Development Administration of Turkey), the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, and the District Municipality of Fatih. Barış Güler, Kaan Çağlayan and Oğuz Bayraktar, who are sons of the Turkish ministers, Muammer Güler (Minister of the Interior), Zafer Çağlayan (Minister of Economy), and Erdoğan Bayraktar (Minister of Environment and Urban Planning) were implicated, as well as Mustafa Demir, the mayor of the district municipality of Fatih; the real estate businessman Ali Ağaoğlu; Süleyman Aslan, the general manager of Halkbank and the Iranian Azerbaijani businessman Reza Zarrab.

Moreover, Egemen Bağış, the Minister of European Union Affairs, is cited in newspaper articles as a potential suspect of bribery related to Reza Zarrab who has business affiliations with Babak Zanjani.

The police confiscated some $17.5 million as money used in bribery during the investigation; $4.5 million at Süleyman Aslan's residence, $750 thousand at Barış Güler's. Prosecutors accuse 14 people including Barış Güler, Kaan Çağlayan, Süleyman Aslan and Reza Zarrab of bribery, corruption, fraud, money laundering and smuggling gold. On 21 December, the court ordered the arrest of these 14 people.

In total, 91 people were detained in the investigation; 26 of them were arrested by the court.

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