[UPDATE: Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar has resigned, the third member of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Cabinet to leave on Wednesday.
Unlike the other two Ministers, Bayraktar called on Erdogan to quit: “I am stepping down as minister and lawmaker. I believe the prime minister should also resign.”]
Turkey’s Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Interior Minister Muammer Güler announced their resignations on Wednesday morning.
The sons of Cağlayan and Güler were among 52 prominent businessmen and political figures detained last week. More than 20 of them remain in prison pending investigation by prosecutors.
The announcement came hours after Çağlayan returned from a trip to Pakistan with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (pictured).
“It is clear that the operation that was launched on Dec. 17 [the prosecution of corruption] is a dirty [game] against our government, our party and our country,” Çağlayan said in a written statement. “I have left my duty as the economy minster to spoil this ugly game in which my son and my close aides were implicated and to allow the facts come out.”
Güler said in his statement, “I presented my resignation verbally to the prime minister on Dec. 17 [the date his son was detained in the corruption operation]. Today I presented it in writing.”
The corruption scandal has highlighted tensions between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the movement of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose followers hold positions in the police and judiciary.
After the arrests, the Government dismissed or transferred about 70 police officers, including the powerful head of Istanbul’s force.