Political crisis worsens: Erdogan rejects corruption claims against son

Smear campaign or the beginning of a big corruption scandal?

ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday rejected allegations that his son was involved in the vast corruption scandal that has targeted some of his closest allies.
"Recently, there have been smear campaigns by the main opposition against my children," the embattled premier said.
"But let me make this clear: if one of my children was involved in such a thing, I would have immediately disowned them," he said at a ceremony in Istanbul.
Prosecutors were reportedly blocked last month from expanding the corruption probe to include Erdogan's younger son Bilal, 34.
But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said there had never been an arrest warrant for Bilal, who is on the board of a charitable foundation for students and is believed to also have various business interests.
"I would like to state that there is no arrest warrant or order to detain Bilal Erdogan," he was quoted as saying on Thursday.
"The claims that he left the country or is hiding do not reflect reality," he added.
Erdogan claims that the anti-graft investigation was instigated by political rivals to undermine his government ahead of elections this year and in 2015.
Dozens of people were detained in police raids in December, including top business leaders and the sons of three ministers, who have since resigned.
Erdogan has retaliated by launching a purge of police and prosecutors involved in the probe, which is focused on allegations of bribery in construction projects, gold smuggling and illicit dealings with Iran.