İzmir mayor denies all allegations in court
İZMİR - Anatolia News AgencyThe Mayor of Izmir, Aziz Kocaoğlu, denied all allegations against him at an Izmir court yesterday, saying: “the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is not a gang and I am not a gang leader.”
Kocaoğlu made his plea in the massive fraud case centered on the main opposition-led municipality yesterday. A total of 130 suspects face charges of official misconduct, forgery, bribery, embezzlement, rigging state tenders, concealing crimes, protecting criminals and establishing and running a crime syndicate in the case.
“All Izmir residents and the members of the court should know that I and my general secretary and heads of the departments are not members of a gang. Our municipality has been raided by evil-minded tax auditors. This indictment, which is full of ignorance and ulterior motives, is the proof that we did not steal one lira of the 25 billion Turkish Lira budget of the municipality. The one who wrote this indictment should be ashamed, not those who are in prison because of them. I demand that my imprisoned friends are released,” Kocaoğlu said in his plea.
He also said that he contacted President Abdullah Gül when he paid a visit to Izmir in May 2011, in order for him to send experts from the State Supervisory Council to oversee the municipality’s expenditures.
Kocaoğlu said he had latterly repeated this demand with a written statement, but that no official response had been given.