If Turkey was Japan all ministers would resign: main opposition CHP

If Turkey was Japan all ministers would resign: main opposition CHP

If Turkey was Japan all ministers would resign: main opposition CHP

CHP members staged a protest in Dec. 17, carrying placards declaring the four former ministers, who are still being investigated by a parliamentary commission, as 'thieves.' Hürriyet Photo / Selahattin Sönmez

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has referred to a tragic seven-year-old event from Japan to criticize the government and a former Cabinet minister over alleged bribery and corruption.

“Allow me to give an example from Japan. A Japanese agriculture minister was accused [of corruption] and he committed suicide. If we had the Japanese culture, then we would not have any one left in the Cabinet,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a Dec. 17 symposium held by the Turkish Bars Union to mark the first anniversary of the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 corruption probes.

In 2007, Japanese agriculture minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka hung himself after allegations of fiscal misconduct.

CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu also vowed to “never allow” the government to cover up corruption and graft claims, on the first anniversary of the launch of a massive probe against former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers.

“I say ‘We are celebrating the first anniversary’ because this is a corruption-sensitive society that looks to the future with great hope,” he said.

“We are here together on the occasion of the first anniversary of the greatest corruption issue in the history of the Turkish Republic. We will not only internalize this, we’ll also reflect this sensitivity to the people,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

Four Cabinet ministers had to resign from their posts amid the claims that surfaced last December, but the government used all of its power to negate an effective probe into the claims. However, the CHP head vowed that his party was “here to not forget and to not let the people forget this great corruption.”

Kılıçdaroğlu cited leaders such as Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, Chile’s Agosto Pinochet, Cuba’s Fulgencio Batista and Indonesia’s Suharto as warnings to today’s Turkey.

“For all of them a single rule was valid: They first stole money and then destroyed freedom and justice, because people who prove to be immoral by stealing money can be equally immoral by [destroying] the lives and freedoms of the people,” he said, adding that corruption “rotted society and ruined justice.”

Kılıçdaorğlu also referred to the 2012 resignation of German President Christian Wulff and a similar situation in Denmark.

“There were claims against German President [Christian] Wulff. What did the president do? He resigned from his position and said ‘Confidence in me has been shaken, I can’t continue my job.’ Then he was prosecuted, acquitted on all charges and now lives honorably in his country,” he said.

“The 17/25 corruption probes put Turkey on the world’s agenda. I wish we would have been put on the world’s agenda by the country’s success in innovation instead. How can a government rob the state? Turkey is now paying for the price of this robbery,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

Turkey’s rank in the international transparency and corruption indexes has been falling in recent years and is one of three countries where corruption is rising, along with Tanzania and Uganda, he also said.
A recent report issued by the OECD on Turkey’s performance in the fight against corruption was the harshest one, he added, noting that this was one of the most important reasons why foreign direct investment in Turkey had been declining in recent years.

“The [EU’s Progress Report] says Turkey has missed out on $30 billion worth of investments in the last year due to domestic legal uncertainties. This is the cost of corruption in Turkey. The cost of this government to Turkey is $30 billion annually,” he added.

Call on religious segments of society

Kılıçdaroğlu also delivered a message to the religious sections of society, typically friendly to the AKP.

“Those who steal your money are not religious. A religious person is not one who steals money from his own country. A religious person is the one who stands with the poor and the oppressed and not with the thief. Religion is not for deceiving people, but for living with honor and morals. Do not give credit to those who exploit your lifestyles,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a deputy CHP leader, has proposed to mark the dates between Dec. 17 and 25 as the official “Week of Struggle against Corruption and Bribery.”

Tanrıkulu, accompanied by fellow party executives and a large crowd, staged a protest in the capital city of Ankara Dec. 17, carrying placards declaring the four former ministers, who are still being investigated by a parliamentary commission, as “thieves.”

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) senior member Oktay Vural also submitted a similar draft, as he talked to the press from a desk at Parliament.