Minister insists Turkey’s ‘economic success’ target of graft allegations
Economy Minister Zeybekçi said the recent graft allegations against the ruling elite were in fact targeting “the country’s economic success and mega projects.” AA PhotoEconomy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi once against repeated the government’s rhetoric claiming the recent graft allegations against the ruling elite were in fact targeting “the country’s economic success and mega projects.”
“If Turkey can start building the world’s largest airport, channel project, two nuclear power plants and the Istanbul-İzmir highway, while ending its debtor relationship with the IMF, then of course some may try to stir up Turkey, saying ‘That’s [just] too much!’” Zeybekçi said yesterday during a meeting in Ankara.
“We see the things we are going through today as healthy birthing pains,” he was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.
The claim has been voiced many times before by several Justice and Development Party (AKP) representatives, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, particularly after it was reported that the contractors of the third airport to be built in Istanbul were among businessmen who were due to be arrested as a part of the second wave of the corruption probe.
The third airport project, which is being built in a forested area of northern Istanbul, close to the city’s last reservoirs, was awarded to a consortium of five Turkish companies – Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, Mapa and Kalyon – in a tender held on May 3, 2013, for 22.1 billion euros.
Limak chair Nihat Özdemir, Kalyon executives Orhan Cemal Kalyoncu and Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu, and a board member of Kolin Celal Koloğlu were among those facing bribery and corruption charges.
The execution of the arrests was aborted after the police did not carry out the orders and the prosecutor overseeing the probe was removed from the case.
“The entrepreneurs who are going ahead with the airport, they have been given a judicial summons,” Erdoğan had said a week after an attempt to carry out the second wave of the probe, which reportedly also included allegations regarding his son, Bilal Erdoğan, was made. “Why? Because they don’t want them to build the airport. I call on these prosecutors of bad faith: Where is your patriotism?”
AKP deputy head and spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik had also suggested the construction projects, both among the AKP’s self-proclaimed “crazy projects,” had disturbed many people outside Turkey, particularly in Europe.
“If you look at who has been implicated or targeted with asset injunctions, [you see] that it’s the team who will build [Istanbul’s] third airport and third bridge without any exception,” Çelik had said.