Turkish police arrest eight in graft investigation: paper

ISTANBUL Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:08am EST

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police arrested eight people in connection with allegations of official corruption and bribery, a newspaper said on Friday, in an investigation Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called a "dirty operation" aimed at undermining his rule.

Among those remanded in custody was the brother of the mayor of Istanbul's historic Fatih district, Hurriyet daily said. It was not clear who else had been arrested.

Mayor Fatih Demir was detained this week, and on Friday was in court to hear if he would be arrested or freed, Dogan News Agency said.

A total of about 50 people, including at least one son of a cabinet minister and billionaire construction magnate Ali Agaoglu, were at the Istanbul court, Hurriyet said.

The operation, unprecedented in scope, began this week with the detention of scores of people seen as close to the government, has struck at the heart of Turkey's ruling elite and roiled financial markets.

Dozens of police chiefs have been removed from their posts, accused of abuse of office for keeping the investigation quiet from higher level officials in security institutions.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley, Editing by Seda Sezer and Elizabeth Piper)

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