'Resignations had been somewhat delayed,' main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin Sönmez.
While welcoming resignations of three members of the Cabinet over a high-level corruption scandal that has rattled the government, Turkish opposition parties maintained that the move on Dec. 25 was a belated one as the related case erupted on Dec. 17. Furthermore, the opposition stepped up pressure for the resignation of the country’s EU minister who is said to have been involved in corruption and bribery.
“Resignations had been somewhat delayed,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
briefly told reporters when asked about the resignations of Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan.
The third resignation, of Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, came later in the day, after Kılıçdaroğlu’s one sentence statement.
CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu, meanwhile, issued a written statement in which he called on EU Minister Egemen Bağış to step down in line with principles related to his post such as transparency and accountability.
“Resignation of two ministers, in the face of corruption and bribery claims that members of the government have been either directly or indirectly involved in, is positive. However, before everybody else, EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış whose name is cited as part of corruption and bribery claims should have resigned. Because one of the fundamental consensuses of the European Union
is transparency, accountability, respect for law and sensitivity to human rights,” Tanrıkulu said in his statement released before Bayarktar’s resignation.
National Movement Party’s (MHP) deputy parliamentary group chair Oktay Vural, for his part, indicated that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
would eventually get involved in the probe as the leader of this government.
“The problem is with him [Erdoğan]. I suppose if a minister is asking for the prime minister’s resignation for the first time, then there are things that he [Bayraktar] knows about. Did these ministers resign as part of the international conspiracy?” Vural asked, in an apparent reference to Erdoğan’s repeated comments suggesting the presence of an international conspiracy behind the probe which actually aims at his government.
According to Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş too, the resignations were delayed.
“The other ministers whose names have been cited should also take the resignation mechanism seriously,” Demirtaş said, however, warning that resignation of the ministers was not an assurance for the healthy conduct of the investigation.