Graft probe prosecutor claims he was ‘threatened’ by Turkish gov’t
‘Two people were sent to me by Erdoğan,’ Zekeriya Öz says. AA photo
A prosecutor who has supervised a recent corruption probe claimed Jan. 8 he was “threatened” by two people sent by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop the investigation.
“Two people who were former members of the high judiciary were sent to me by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Zekeriya Öz, who was removed from his post as deputy Istanbul chief prosecutor following a graft investigation that included the sons of three former Cabinet members, told reporters Jan. 8.
“Those two people I met at a hotel in Bursa told me that the prime minister was angry with me, I should write a letter of apology and stop the probe immediately, or I would be harmed.”
PM denies claims as 'slander'
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is currently on a visit to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, denied the claims in a written statement as “slander.”
“The statements made by Zekeriya Öz are lies and slander. It is out of the question that I sent him members of the high judiciary,” the statement said.
Öz, who was assigned by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) as the deputy chief prosecutor of Istanbul’s Bakırköy district, said he told the men that “the worst thing that can happen to me is death and I would welcome it since I would be a martyr.”
The former powerful prosecutor, who was also the lead prosecutor at the beginning of the Ergenekon coup plot probe, also denied recent media reports that a visit he made to Dubai in November was paid for by a construction company.
“I paid for the hotel and plane tickets myself, and the reports that I have travelled abroad 22 times are lies, those who cannot prove these accusations should resign,” he said in a closed reference to Prime Minister Erdoğan, who questioned the prosecutor’s reported trips abroad in recent remarks.