ANKARA, Turkey — The European Union on Saturday expressed concern over a deepening corruption scandal that has ensnared Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allies and urged the country to handle the issue in a “transparent and impartial manner.”

The statement came amid opposition criticism that the government was trying to stifle the corruption investigation by dismissing police officials. The government also changed regulations on how probes are conducted but that move was overturned by a Turkish high court.

The EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele welcomed the court’s decision saying in the change in rules has undermined the judiciary’s “capacity to act.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt urged EU-candidate Turkey on Twitter Saturday to return to “EU-inspired and democratic reforms.”

Erdogan says the probe is part of a conspiracy aimed at bringing his government down.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.