Turkish PM says he is target of graft probe

Associated Press
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Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces his new ministers in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. Three Cabinet ministers resigned Wednesday, days after their sons were taken into custody in a sweeping corruption and bribery scandal that has targeted Erdogan's allies in one of the worst political crises of his more than 10 years in power. Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, Urban Planning and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar and Interior Minister Muammer Guler resigned from their posts on Wednesday. Bayraktar also urged the prime minister to step down. (AP Photo)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's prime minister says he believes he is the ultimate target of a corruption and bribery probe of his allies that has shaken the government.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of journalists that anyone attempting to enmesh him in the scandal would be "left empty handed." His comments were published in Hurriyet and Yeni Safak newspapers on Thursday.

Erdogan reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday, replacing 10 ministers hours after three ministers, whose sons were detained in relation to the probe, resigned. One of those ministers called on Erdogan to also step down.

The ministers' sons were questioned over the scandal focusing on alleged illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects. Two of them were later arrested on bribery charges.