CHP leader reveals former Turkish minister’s advice to son before arrest
The telephone recording, which CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said was legally conducted, indicated that the former minister was aware of his son’s alleged involvement in corruption and bribery. AA PhotoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) leader has revealed a telephone conversation between ex-Interior Minister Muammer Güler and his son Barış Güler on the morning that a huge graft probe targeting the government was launched.
The telephone recording, which CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said was legally conducted, indicated that the former minister was aware of his son’s alleged involvement in corruption and bribery as he gave advice to his son about what to say during his interrogation by the police on Dec. 17, 2013.
Addressing a parliamentary group meeting on Feb. 11, Kılıçdaroğlu read out the transcript of the telephone recording. In the conversation, Barış Güler, who has been held in custody since the Dec. 17 raids like Kaan Çağlayan, the son of ex-Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, informed his father of a search warrant, saying the police had come to his place in the early morning. Muammer Güler then questioned his son repeatedly about the amount of money he kept at home. The son subsequently told his father that he had around 1 million Turkish Liras, prompting the minister to ask whether the police had seized the money; in reply, the son said the search was still continuing.
“As long as I have understood, they are talking about bribes in relation to Reza Zarrab. You shall say that I have a consultancy business. I’m doing it unofficially. My uncle’s son who is indebted to me works with them,” Muammer Güler tells his son.
Zarrab is an Iranian-born Azeri businessman who is the key suspect in the case and whose close ties with government figures are under scrutiny. In addition to Zarrab, Halkbank’s former chairman, Süleyman Aslan, also remains in detention.
The Turkish government has repeatedly accused a “parallel state” under the direction of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen of orchestrating the probes and suggested that the investigations amounted to a “coup attempt” against the government.
Noting that it was Barış Güler who called his father, Kılıçdaroğlu added that Muammer Güler was aware of everything about the issue.
“I’m calling on my citizens who voted for the AKP. These recordings have been conducted by a court decision. These are not illegal. Nobody is making a coup against anybody. If there has been a coup, it has been made into your pocket, My Dear Citizen,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
‘What if it had been Merkel or Obama?’
“There is no other country in the world where it smells to high heaven with corruption like this,” he said, while highlighting the government’s pressure on the media in reference to a recently revealed telephone recording which displayed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s censorship of the media.
The recording showed Erdoğan calling a television executive to demand the removal of a news ticker referring to a statement by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli at the height of the Gezi Park demonstrations last June.
“Let’s say that [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel picks up the phone and says ‘Remove that news ticker referring to the opposition leader’s statement.’ Could Merkel have continued sitting in that office? She wouldn’t have been able to. If [U.S. President Barack] Obama had done the same thing, he could not have stayed for even a day in his office.”