Demoted Official in Turkey Quits

From Associated Press

The nation's top anti-corruption crusader quit the Cabinet and his party Wednesday in protest after he was demoted because of anger over his aggressive campaign against graft.

The resignation of Saadettin Tantan, who was interior minister before his demotion, is likely to cast a shadow over the Turkish government's professed determination to fight political corruption.

Widespread corruption was seen as a key factor behind a financial crisis that has led to the lira tumbling more than 40% since mid-February. The downturn has cost about half a million Turks their jobs.

As interior minister, Tantan had fiercely pushed investigations into corruption, including an inquiry regarding the Energy Ministry, controlled by his Motherland Party. That probe led to several resignations--including that of Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer--and arrests.

Tantan was demoted Tuesday to the post of state minister in charge of customs.

He cited his appointment to a new post as the reason for his resignation Wednesday and vowed to keep up his campaign against corruption.

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