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Turkey takes steps to tighten grip on judiciary

Thursday - 1/9/2014, 8:10am  ET

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- A Turkish parliamentary committee is planning to debate a measure that would tighten Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's grip on the judiciary as his government fends off a corruption scandal that has implicated former Cabinet ministers.

The parliament's justice committee is scheduled on Friday to take up a government-proposed bill that would strengthen the justice ministry's hold on a council that appoints judges and prosecutors and oversees their work.

Erdogan insists the corruption charges are a conspiracy orchestrated by followers of an Islamic movement who he says have infiltrated the police and judiciary. He has vowed to fight back; the government has already removed hundreds of police officers from key posts.

Critics say the measure is an affront to the independence of the judiciary.

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