Graft accusations aim to thwart Istanbul’s third airport and bridge plans: AKP spokesman
AKP's Hüseyin Çelik has hinted a plot behind the graft probes targeting Istanbul's future airport and bridge. AA photoThe massive graft probes and allegations implicating ex-ministers aim to obstruct the construction of Istanbul’s third airport and bridge, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy head and spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik said.
“If you look at who has been implicated or targeted with asset injunctions, [you see] that it’s the team who will build [Istanbul’s] third airport and third bridge without any exception,” Çelik said during a live broadcast Jan. 12.
Çelik said that the construction works, both among the AKP’s self-proclaimed “crazy projects,” had disturbed many people outside Turkey, particularly in Europe.
“I am not someone who gives a lot of credit to conspiracy theories. But we have to sit and think if the Frankfurt airport will [lose favor] when Istanbul’s third airport will be completed,” Çelik said.
According to Turkish media reports, prominent Turkish businessmen were among an arrest list of a second corruption probe, including the chairmen of the companies included in the consortium which won the contract to build Istanbul’s third airport.
The execution of the arrests was aborted after the police did not carry out the orders and the prosecutor overseeing the probe was removed from the case.
Çelik emphasized that those businessmen’s investments would ultimately serve the public funds. He also joined the partisans of the “timing and meaningless” argument denouncing that the accusations erupted a few months before local polls.
“Some want to label the AKP government as [corrupt] through creating a perception right before the election,” he said.
The graft probe escalated into a political crisis with the government’s move to increase its control over the judiciary, stirring outcry among the opposition ranks.
The parliamentary debates held over the week-end were marred by quarrels, which boiled over with AKP deputy Zeyid Aslan’s flying kick in a justice commission session.
Çelik also criticized the head of the Judges and Prosecutors Union (YARSAV), Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu, who had been attending the session but found himself on the receiving end of Aslan’s kung-fu heroics.
The bill has created concerns vis-à-vis the independence of the judiciary and the level of government control over the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, a key institution that forms the basis of Turkey’s judicial system.