Question angers ex-minister accused of expensive watch bribery: ‘What time is it?’
Zafer Çağlayan is seen during a parliamentary session. Çağlayan is accused of being bribed the Iranian-Azeri businessman Reza Zarrab with a customized watch worth 700,000 Turkish Liras.You could say it was “tension o’clock” when a group of young people asked Zafer Çağlayan - the former economy minister accused of being bribed with a watch worth hundreds of thousands of dollars - what the time was, while eating in an Ankara restaurant.
Çağlayan, who was replaced after being embroiled in the corruption probe targeting a number of government figures and businessman, reportedly responded naturally after a young person sitting at the table next to his asked politely, “Good evening, Mr. Çağlayan, do you know what time it is?”
However, after the group started laughing over his answer, Çağlayan realized that he was actually being mocked.
According to witnesses at the restaurant, Çağlayan and his family reacted strongly against the jest. Some witnesses even claim that the former minister walked over to confront those at the other table and had to be separated by other customers at the restaurant.
Çağlayan is accused of being bribed by Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Azeri businessman who emerged as the main suspect in the high-profile investigation, with a customized watch worth 700,000 Turkish Liras (around $300,000).
He has claimed that he is a watch aficionado and paid the entire sum himself, despite the fact that the bill is in Zarrab’s name.
Çağlayan has also been accused of traveling to Mecca with Zarrab’s private jet. His son, Kaan Çağlayan, is among the 24 people who have been charged so far in connection with the high-profile investigation.