Bribe allegations shake Turkish Cypriot politics
Deputy Ejder Aslanbaba took the podium holding dollars and a CD in his hand and said, “They bribed me, here is the proof, here is the CD.” AA photoTurkish Cyprus was hit yesterday by a bribery scandal during the new government’s vote of confidence in Parliament.
A Democratic Party-National Forces (DP - UG) deputy claimed that another deputy from his party and the leader of his party had paid him a bribe of $7,700 for his affirmative vote on the new coalition government and to resign from his deputyship.
Deputy Ejder Aslanbaba took the podium holding dollars and a CD in his hand and said, “They bribed me, here is the proof, here is the CD.” Aslanbaba also claimed that the two had committed to put him on a salary and make him the mayor of the İskele region.
‘Whisky, coke, ice’
Aslanbaba said he had taken the money from DP-UG deputy Ahmet Kaşif and spent 90 Turkish Liras of it.
“I bought myself some whisky, coke, ice and a snack. I ate them on the beach,” Aslanbaba said, adding that he would donate the rest of the money to a primary school and file a criminal complaint.
The head of the DP-UG, Serdar Denktaş, and deputy Ahmet Kaşif denied the allegations. Kaşif said that Aslanbaba had demanded money from him to pay his debts and that he had given him the money as a loan.
Denktaş, for his part, said Aslanbaba would either prove his claims or “seek a place” to escape in the country. Denktaş suggested his and Kaşif’s immunity be lifted, adding that the issue was a now a legal matter.
The new government won a vote of confidence with 26 affirmative votes and 15 negative votes from the 50-member Parliament. Prime Minister Sibel Siber branded the scandal as a plot against them.
“Our government has just received a vote of confidence. The government’s transparency and good work disturbed some people and a final game has been played to discredit it,” she said.
Former Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister İrsen Küçük said the new government was not legitimate. “This government, formed by pulling us down, is a dollar government. It is not legitimate. We know that there is a lot more bargaining going on, we’ll reveal it all with proof.”
The row between Denktaş and Aslanbaba erupted after Aslanbaba was unable to run for general elections on July 28, according to daily Milliyet’s report. Aslanbaba, who was a former National Union Party (UBP) member, became a DP-UG party member two weeks ago on the condition of “being a candidate” in the elections. He claimed that Denktaş had prevented his candidacy even though he had previously committed to it.