Ministers may resign if involved in bribery: Deputy PM Arınç
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç described the latest operation as 'a well-planned operation that includes methods of psychological warfare to tarnish the government.' Cihan photoMinisters who involved in the ongoing corruption investigation may leave their posts “if they are involved in a crime,” Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said Dec. 19, commenting on one of the biggest scandals to ever hit Turkey.
“We believe that our ministers are innocent. But that does not mean that we will protect them if they are involved in a crime concerning their sons. They may seek [permission] to leave or our prime minister may demand [their resignation]. We are going to see what they will do soon,” Arınç told reporters at a press conference in Ankara.
There are three members of the Cabinet whose sons are among those detainees; Interior Minister Muammer Güler, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan. The suspects are, respectively, Barış Güler, Abdullah Oğuz Bayraktar and Kaan Çağlayan.
EU Minister Egemen Bağış is also said to be a suspect involved in corruption and bribery.
Arınç’s remarks were the first official comments from a senior member of the government over the ongoing and wide-ranging corruption and bribery investigation in which 52 people have been detained.
He described the latest operation as “a well-planned operation that includes methods of psychological warfare to tarnish the government,” adding that they would disclose those who are responsible for attempting to discredit the administration.
“If there’s an illegal organization within the state, we will detect it. If there’s an organization whose members use their authority for their own interests, we will reveal it within the shortest time possible,” he said.
Arınç stepped back when asked whether he was referring to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement with the term “illegal organization,” amid widespread speculation that the government is planning to launch an operation against followers of Gülen who are influential in the police and judiciary.
“It is incorrect to associate a meaning to my comments that would create a confrontation with the [Gülen] community,” Arınç said.
The senior politician added that they would respect the judicial process in the investigation, while calling on the media to pay attention to the secrecy of the investigation.
“The judicial process should be concluded swiftly and carefully. We will always respect any decision made by the judiciary and will not engage in any effort to block this process,” he said.