Først var det to statsråder som gikk av, og børsen steg. Men så gikk en tredje av, og han nektet å følge reglene og sa han var blitt tvunget og bedt om å hvitvaske statsminister Erdogan i korrupsjonsskandalen. Statsråden sa tvert imot: Erdogan bør gå av av hensyn til landets beste.

Da falt børsen.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decadelong grip on power suffered a blow Wednesday after an old ally quit the cabinet and called for him to resign, in the latest fallout from a corruption case that has rocked the country and roiled markets.

The public chastising of Mr. Erdogan by a member of his own Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is unprecedented. It came after the premier, who had been resisting pressure for a cabinet shuffle for a week, had pushed Erdogan Bayraktar and two other ministers to resign.

The economy and interior ministers, whose sons have been detained as part of the investigation, left first, echoing the prime minister’s characterization of the corruption probe as a «dirty plot» against Turkey.

Mr. Bayraktar, who was in charge of the environment and urban planning, and whose son has been questioned in the probe, quit hours later but refused to tow the party line.

«I don’t accept being pressured and told: ‘Resign because of an operation involving bribery and corruption, and publish a declaration that will relieve’ [the premier],» Mr. Bayraktar said, according to his office.

«To soothe the nation, I believe that the prime minister should resign, too,» he said.


The prime minister, known for protecting his allies and not yielding to outside pressures over a decade in office, hasn’t commented on the resignations. His spokesman didn’t return calls for comment.

«The resignations are a big step back for Erdogan, it creates the impression that he is losing control of his cabinet,» said Atilla Yesilada, an Istanbul-based analyst at risk consultancy Global Source Partners.

«Forced to act, Erdogan tried to get rid of his burdens,» he said. «But this is a political crisis and it is hard to tell how it will unfold, these investigations may expand in coming months.»