Turkish court refuses to release ex-ministers' sons, others in graft probe
Barış Güler, the son of ex-Interior Minister Muammer Güler, is under custody since the launch of the graft operation on Dec. 17. Cihan photoAn Istanbul court has rejected demands for the release of 10 graft probe suspects, including the son of ex-Interior Minister Muammer Güler and the chief executive of Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank.
Demands for the release of the son of ex-Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Iranian-born Azeri businessman Reza Zarrab, were also rejected later on for similar grounds.
The court said in its ruling that the detention orders “were appropriate” after the review of the release demands. The lawyers of the suspects, who are under custody since the launch of a police operation on Dec. 17, said they would apply to a higher court to re-examine the requests.
Both Barış Güler and Kaan Çağlayan are among the 24 people who have been charged so far in connection with the high-profile investigation.
The transfer of gold and money to Iran via Halkbank is under close scrutiny, and Zarrab was charged with forming a ring that bribed officials, including Halkbank chief executive Süleyman Aslan, to help disguise illegal gold sales.
Police also reportedly found $4.5 million in cash stored in shoeboxes in Aslan’s home.
The son of the ex-Environment Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar was also briefly detained as part of the probe while ex-EU Minister Egemen Bağış was accused of taking bribes from Zarrab.
The probe shook the government, leading to the resignation of the three ministers whose sons were detained. All four implicated ministers were replaced in a large Cabinet reshuffle on Dec. 25.
The probe also highlighted the deepening conflict between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the movement of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose followers are said to hold key positions inside the secret services, police and judiciary and are believed to be behind the investigation.