State-run Anadolu Agency censors Turkish Deputy PM Arınç's comments on graft case
ANKARA – Hürriyet
Some of Arınç's remarks were absent from the Anadolu Agency report on his interview with CNNTürk. AA PhotoTurkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency, censored remarks from Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç in which he criticized corruption and spoke of the "risks of being very wealthy" during a March 2 interview.
Arınç said he felt “embarrassed” following revelations that the prime suspect in the Dec. 17, 2013, graft probe, Reza Zarrab, had allegedly given a watch worth $700,000 to former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan as a present and that a businessman had paid the tuition fees of the daughter of one of the prime minister’s advisers.
“If you ask me about the watch on his arm and his daughter’s fee, I cannot give an answer to you because of my embarrassment. It’s not possible to cover up corruption,” Arınç said in an interview with CNNTürk late March 2. Anadolu Agency, however, did not publish the statements.
Barış Güler, the son of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler; Barış Kaan Çağlayan, the son of former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Zarrab, an Azeri-origin businessman who allegedly bribed four ministers, were arrested in a massive corruption and graft probe that started on Dec. 17, 2013. They were released pending trial on Feb. 27, meaning no suspects are left behind bars.
Arınç also cited a verse of the Quran which states Muslims are tested via their wealth and children, saying: “May God not test us with our wealth and children. This is not an easy one.”
Some of Arınç's remarks were absent from the Anadolu Agency report on his interview with CNNTürk.
The deputy prime minister also said he bought a house years ago, adding that half of his money did not even cover half of the house’s price. “I took a loan from a bank to pay the other half of the house’s price,” said Arınç in other remarks that were not carried by Anadolu Agency.
Arınç said the releases of Barış Güler, Kaan Çağlayan and Zarrab following serious corruption and graft claims had hurt the public conscience, drawing a different line to the prime minister.
“[The releases pending trial] have hurt consciences, just like the cases of long imprisonment. I do not say, ‘Let them stay behind bars,’ but I want to see the [investigation] file include the extent to which a businessman influenced the public interest. Very different things could come up. I have witnessed a lot of things like this during my career as a lawyer,” Arınç added.
“If the son of a minister is doing business with a man bribing [politicians], this is the most disgusting thing in the world. This is the same in every corner of the world. This takes places everywhere in the world, but is regarded as a cursed thing,” Arınç stressed.
The deputy prime minister also criticized the release of Süleyman Aslan, the former director of a leading public bank, Halkbank, who was arrested after $4.5 million was found in shoe boxes in his house. “I do not even have a word to say about it,” Arınç said.