Over 50 people were detained following a vast anti-corruption operation by the Istanbul police's financial squad. Those taken into custody on December 17 include the sons of three sitting ministers, a mayor from the ruling AKP party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and several business executives close to the AKP, reports Turkish daily Hürriyet.
The detainees are suspected of having paid or accepted bribes, of fraud or of money laundering, according to the results of three separate investigations all begun several months ago by the Istanbul prosecutor's office.
"Investigators placed the suspects under physical and electronic surveillance for months," the paper explains, adding that "the investigations took place in the greatest secrecy" in what appears to be a settling of scores between the government and supporters of the powerful brotherhood of Islamic preacher, Fethullah Gülen
Five senior officers in the Istanbul police force, including the head of the financial squad, were removed from office the day of the operation, adds Hürriyet.