Turkey investigates allegations of plot against President Erdogan's daughter

Pro-government dailies Star, Aksam and Gunes alleged on their front pages on Friday that the plot to assassinate 29-year-old Sumeyye Erdogan had been ordered by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen (above, in a file photo), whom the President accuses of
Pro-government dailies Star, Aksam and Gunes alleged on their front pages on Friday that the plot to assassinate 29-year-old Sumeyye Erdogan had been ordered by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen (above, in a file photo), whom the President accuses of seeking to overthrow him. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish prosecutors on Friday launched an investigation into claims by pro-government media that the top foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had ordered the assassination of his daughter.

Pro-government dailies Star, Aksam and Gunes alleged on their front pages on Friday that the plot to assassinate 29-year-old Sumeyye Erdogan had been ordered by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom the President accuses of seeking to overthrow him.

Gulen's lawyer as well as an opposition lawmaker accused in the plot strongly denied the allegations and called them a smear campaign.

The allegations were based on alleged Twitter messages between Umut Oran, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party, and Fuat Avni, a mysterious government whistleblower.

The chief prosecutor's office in Ankara deemed the reports as a "tip-off" and launched an investigation.

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Sumeyye, also an adviser to Erdogan, could run for office for the ruling Justice and Development Party in June elections.

Nurullay Albayrak, a lawyer for Gulen, called the allegations "immoral slander" and said "this nation has never seen unlawfulness, immorality and lies at such a level."

Oran said in a statement that he was a victim of "an immoral, outrageous and ugly slander" and labelled the allegations "dark propaganda."

The lawmaker also said he had launched a libel lawsuit against the editors of the three newspapers and noted that the messages were fake since they exceeded the 140-character limit on Twitter.

Erdogan has claimed Pennsylvania-based Gulen concocted a corruption scandal that rocked the government in late 2013 and the president has purged thousands of his followers from the police and the judiciary.