Turkish opposition critical of key graft suspect's media appearance
Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu ironically suggested that the government should appoint the key suspect into a high-level ministerial or bureacratic position. AA PhotoOpposition voices have harshly criticized a recent interview with chief corruption probe suspect Reza Zarrab, which was broadcast on pro-government A Haber TV.
Both Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli ironically proposed that the government should appoint Zarrab as the new economy minister, as he claimed in the interview that the gold transactions he carried out with Iran managed to close 15 percent of the public deficit.
Addressing his lawmakers at Parliament on April 22, Bahçeli said “a criminal bribe-taker” had been interviewed and Zarrab publicized his views “without any shame.”
He suggested that the government should appoint the key suspect as either prime minister, economy minister, undersecretariat for the treasury, or the head of the central bank.
Such a move would “suit” the government, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sees corruption and bribery as “fair,” Bahçeli added.
Speaking to his own lawmakers at Parliament, CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu joined criticisms of Zarrab, sarcastically proposing that the government “put up a sculpture” or him in the Parliament lobby.
“‘Reducing the deficit’ is the new name of bribery,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He also slammed the fact that Zarrab appeared on TV with a Turkish flag in the background behind him, saying a “criminal” could not be legitimized with Turkish flag.
“Following Dec. 17 [the start of the corruption probe], we have seen reality of Turkey being robbed. We have seen a foreigner buying off four ministers,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in reference to former ministers Zafer Çağlayan, Erdoğan Bayraktar, Egemen Bağış and Muammer Güler, who left their posts after the corruption allegations went public.
Zarrab was charged with forming a ring that bribed officials to help disguise illegal gold sales to Iran via Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank.