CHP launches disciplinary action into former deputy amid allegations against Ankara mayor

CHP launches disciplinary action into former deputy amid allegations against Ankara mayor

CHP launches disciplinary action into former deputy amid allegations against Ankara mayor

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has launched disciplinary action against former Ankara deputy Sinan Aygün over his remarks about party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and deputy chair Bülent Kuşoğlu amid bribery allegations by Aygün against Ankara’s mayor.

Aygün accused Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş of soliciting for a bribe worth 25 million Turkish Liras after the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality decided to seal off the twin towers in Ankara owned by Aygün. The municipality and a court had said the towers had violated land rights.

The CHP has shown support to Yavaş, while the party’s Ankara provincial head, Rıfkı Güvener, said that Aygün had “launched a public operation instead of waiting for the legal procedure.”

“With this intention, he went live on a television channel known to be against [the CHP] and behaved in an insulting manner against [Kılıçdaroğlu], our party’s corporate identity, and [Yavaş],” he said.

Güvener said that Aygün violated the party’s values by “contributing to political works and actions against the CHP’s fundamental principles.”

The disciplinary action was launched against Aygün to expel him from the party, the provincial head added.

Yavaş and Aygün have filed criminal complaints against each other.

Feud’s background

The feud began after the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality said the twin towers in Ankara, named “Togo Twin Towers,” violated land rights and decided to seal off the building following a court ruling.

In 2016, the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) filed a lawsuit against a change in zoning plans during the construction of the towers, on the grounds that it is “against the public interest.” But the change in the zoning plan was approved during the term of former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The court revoked the new zoning plan, however, the construction resumed. After Yavaş was elected mayor in the March 31 local elections, the said verdict was not overruled by a higher court, giving the municipality the green light to launch action against the towers.

Aygün accuses Yavaş of bribery

Aygün later filed a criminal complaint against Yavaş and three more city council members on “bribery” allegations.

Aygün claimed that Yavaş and his staff “requested 25 million Turkish Liras [$4.21 million]” to stop them from filing a lawsuit.

After Aygün’s complaint, the Interior Ministry appointed an inspector to investigate the allegations, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 21.

CHP members have said the scrutiny was groundless, denying the accusations.

During a TV interview on private broadcaster Beyaz TV, owned by former Mayor Melih Gökçek, Aygün claimed two members of the city council offered him to solve the issue in exchange for the said amount. He alleged that the members visited Aygün at his office and discussed the issue for about 25 minutes.

Mayor pledges to hold the corrupt accountable

The municipality, in a statement, accused Aygün of conducting a smear campaign with “aspirations” to change the “zoning plans” of the area.

The statement also implied Aygün had links with FETÖ, the group behind the defeated coup attempt of 2016.

Aygün has gained some 570 million liras with this construction regardless of the court’s ruling, the statement added.

During a TV interview on private broadcaster TELE1, Yavaş said Aygün’s bribery claims were based on a conversation about a school construction.

Yavaş took aim at the previous administration that presided over the municipality, which he said had “sold the lands of Ankara parcel by parcel,” implying that the former staff had been involved in corruption and bribery.

Yavaş on Dec. 23 filed a six-page-long criminal complaint against Aygün, claiming he had ties with the FETÖ.

CHP leader voices support to Yavaş

Meanwhile, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Dec. 22 said that Yavaş has discussed the issue with him. He said Yavaş was known to a figure to “stand against unfairness.”

“Yavaş acted in accordance with the law. Mayors need to put up a fight against the rentier system,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters at the party’s headquarters, referring to the government.

Other mayors from the CHP have also shown Yavaş support on Twitter, saying the mayor of the capital city “is not alone.”