EU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has attempted to downplay accusations that Turkey’s EU agency has misappropriated EU funds while confirming a probe into the matter, underlining the government’s willingness to subject itself to the investigation to clear its name.
“We are extremely open and transparent on these issues. Inshallah, everybody will see the report after the investigation is finalized,” Çavuşoğlu said yesterday during a visit to the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, adding that the investigation was opened upon an initiative from the Turkish side.
The investigation was launched after the revelation of an email by then-National Agency President Musa Ceylan to then-EU Minister Egemen Bağış. In the email dated March 2013, Ceylan states that he will not fulfill any inappropriate instruction by Bağış.
“A fellow working before our term of office wrote a complaint letter after leaving the office,” he said, citing the letter as the reason for the investigation. Upon this letter, the EU asked for an investigation, and Bağış launched it without losing time, Çavuşoğlu said.
“Although there are contradictions between different petitions signed by our friend who left the office, no question mark should remain on anybody’s mind,” he said, suggesting that the issue was being distorted by some newspapers.
The investigation became public after Turkish daily Taraf reported about a letter sent by Jan Truszczynski, the European Commission’s director general for education and culture, to Çavuşoğlu; Turkey’s permanent representative to the EU, Selim Yenel; and National Agency President Bülent Özcan.
Çavuşoğlu took over his current post from Bağış as part of a big reshuffle on Dec. 25, 2013, which came days after the revelation of a huge graft probe on Dec. 17.
The probe involved high-profile names and relatives of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members. The outspoken Bağış was one of four ministers implicated in the graft probe on claims of bribery.