(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A member of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling party has said that he would understand if a Jew or an atheist were behind the premier's graft scandal, but he questioned how a Muslim could be involved.
Turkish lawmaker and former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan who is a member of Erdogan's Justice and Development party made the remarks during a public rally on Saturday, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported.
Çağlayan, resigned after being implicated in a highly publicized corruption operation launched on December 17, 2013,
Since a December police operation, Erdogan has been battling a series of allegations that he and members of his family and senior government officials took bribes and engaged in other improprieties.
In the wake of the scandal, Çağlayan resigned from his ministerial post. His son was arrested a few days prior to the resignation.
"The nation sees very well what kind of mentality we are fighting against. There are many things that I can tell you. But I would understand if a Jew, an atheist, a Zoroastrian would do all these things to us. Shame on them if these things are done by those who claim to be Muslim. How can a Muslim do this?" Zaman
quoted Caglayan as saying, quoting Al Jazeera Turk.
The lira currency has lost almost 9 percent of its value against the dollar since Dec. 17 amid concerns about political stability in the emerging market.
Last month a recording surfaced purporting to be of Erdogan and his son Bilal discussing how to reduce funds at home to "zero" by distributing them among several businessmen. At one point, the voice supposedly of Bilal says some 30 million euros ($40 million) still remained to be disposed of. \
Reuters contributed to this report.