Embassy briefing denied as row simmers
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Deniz Baykal (C), former leader of the main oppostion Republican People’s Party, speaks to reporters in Parliament following his party’s group meeting.Turkish police denied yesterday they had ever briefed the American Embassy in Ankara about the high-profile Ergenekon investigation amid a simmering controversy over the alleged meeting reported in leaked U.S. cables.
“The allegations made in news reports are absolutely untrue. The Turkish police have never been to any country’s embassy and given them a briefing,” the security department said in a statement.
According to U.S. cables made public by WikiLeaks, Turkish police briefed the United States Embassy in Ankara on the Ergenekon probe at least on two occasions in 2008 and in 2009 in an apparent bid to enlist Washington’s support for the controversial probe.
At the first gathering, the briefers reportedly told the Americans that police obtained as part of the investigation evidence of a bribe paid to then main opposition leader Deniz Baykal as well as photosrelating to the sexual activities of former Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt’s daughter.
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, interior minister at the time, also denied any knowledge of the briefing. “That’s the first time I hear about it,” he told reporters.
Oğuz Kağan Köksal, chief of the Turkish police at the time and now a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, also denied the allegations and said such a briefing never happened during his term.
Baykal, for his part, said the bribery allegations were false and baseless, insisting the government “cannot get away with a simple denial.”
“Probably the U.S. Embassy will say something. I don’t give any chance that embassy officials made up a briefing and sent fabrications to their ministry,” he said.
Baykal has threatened to sue the prime minister and the interior minister if they fail to make a satisfactory explanation on the issue.