Riots Erupt in Turkey over Corruption Scandal
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Turkish riot police confronted opposition protesters with water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets in Istanbul in scenes reminiscent of the summer's mass anti-government demonstrations.
Some of the protesters on Friday evening threw rocks and firecrackers at police, shouting, "Catch the thief!" in reference to a widening corruption scandal gripping Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
Similar protests were held in the city of Izmir, and in Ankara where police also fired water cannons to disperse the crowds.
Police blocked hundreds of protesters from gathering in Istanbul's central Taksim Square and pushed them away to the nearby streets. At least 70 people have been detained in the Taksim protesters, Al Jazeera reported.
At least 31 people, including three lawyers, have been detained in Istanbul, according to the Istanbul Bar Association.
Thousands of Erdogan backers, meanwhile, gathered at other spots showing their support for the embattled Erdogan.
Twenty-four people, including the sons of two former government ministers and the head of the state-owned financial institution, Halkbank, have been arrested on bribery charges.
Media reports say the probe is over alleged illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects.
Three Turkish legislators, including a former minister, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have resigned over the scandal and accused the Turkish government of putting pressure on the judiciary.