According to latest reports, a third Cabinet minister has also resigned.
Three Cabinet ministers resigned in Turkey on Wednesday, days after their sons were taken into custody in a corruption and bribery scandal that has targeted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allies.
Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler announced their resignations in statements carried by the state-run Anadolu Agency. Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdogan Bayraktar announced his resignation from both the Cabinet and Parliament in a live interview with the private NTV television during which he also urged the prime minister to step down.
All three ministers denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Caglayan’s and Mr. Guler’s sons, along with the chief executive officer of the state—run bank Halkbank, are among 24 people who have been arrested on bribery charges. Mr. Bayraktar’s son was detained as part of the probe but later released from custody.
Media reports said police have seized $4.5 million in cash that was stashed in the home of the bank’s CEO, while more than 1 million dollars in cash was reportedly discovered in the home of Guler’s son, Baris.
Mr. Erdogan has denounced the corruption probe as a plot by foreign and Turkish forces to thwart his country’s growing prosperity and discredit his government ahead of local elections in March. His government has won three successive elections since 2002.
As he resigned on Wednesday, Mr. Caglayan said, “It is clear that the operation is a dirty conspiracy against our government, our party and our country.”
The opposition had long called for the two ministers to resign, claiming their sons were taking bribes on behalf of their fathers, and insisted they should not remain in positions where they were able to influence the probe.