25 Turkish officials arrested in graft probe

Ankara, Jan 8: Turkish authorities have detained 25 officials in five provinces as part of an ongoing probe into the recent graft scandal, media reported Tuesday.

Police detained the suspects in morning raids in the provinces of Izmir, Ankara, Istanbul, Hatay and Van, Xinhua quoted Dogan News Agency as saying in a report.

The suspects include Izmir port director and eight officials of the Turkish State Railways, said the report, adding that they are accused of bribery, corruption, conspiring to rig the bid.

More than 80 people, including some prominent businessmen close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sons of three ministers, were detained Dec 17 as part of the probe into tender fraud and bribery allegations.

Soon afterwards, Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, Interior Minister Muammer Guler and Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan announced their resignation. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan then launched a major cabinet reshuffle.

The government has hit back against the probe by sacking hundreds of police officials across the country since the investigation started last month.

IANS