Justice Ministry undersecretary called İzmir prosecutor to stop fraud probe: CHP leader claims
CİHAN PhotoThe leader of the main opposition social democrat party has said the probe launched to investigate fraud claims in the İzmir Harbor that engulfed a relative of the ruling party’s İzmir mayoral candidate was stopped after Justice Ministry Undersecretary instructed the prosecutor to “close the file.”
“The undersecretary telephones the prosecutor in İzmir and asks him to close the file. From where did this undersecretary get this authority? He can’t do such a thing if he does not receive an order from the Justice Minister. Let’s make a call to the minister: Make a statement ‘No such phone conversation took place. This is not plausible.’ We’ll see if he can make such statement,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said in an interview with Halk TV late Jan. 16 .“Such an intervention into judiciary branch is a crime.”
Undersecretary Kenan İpek was appointed to his position right after Bekir Bozdağ was posted as the Justice Minister in the post-Dec. 17 period, as part of a fight against the Fethullah Gülen community, or the Hizmet Movement, as the government describes it, as the main power behind corruption and graft probe. Following two major waves of operations in Istanbul that revealed a corruption and graft network that included four ministers and other high-level bureaucrats, İzmir prosecutors launched an investigation into suspicious transactions at commercial harbors. A close relative of Binali Yıldırım, former Transportation and Communication Minister and the ruling party’s İzmir mayoral candidate, was also among suspects. Three İzmir police officers were dismissed after launching investigations.
“Dec. 17 is a very important date, because it was documented for the first time that the state of the Republic of Turkey has been robbed by a government. Four ministers, their children and close relatives have been seen as part of such serious corruption. Sons of ministers have been arrested, ministers resigned: This is the first time we have seen such a thing,” Kılıçdaroğlu underlined.
Criticizing the purge of hundreds of police officers and prosecutors in a bid to cover up corruption operations, Kılıçdaroğlu urged “Those who have not implemented court decisions in the past have all been sentenced, whoever he or she was. The government openly instructs law enforcement not to implement court decisions”.
Criticizing the government officials’ rhetoric that describes the corruption probe as a plot against the government, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed “You lost four of your ministers. What is the conspiracy? If that would be a conspiracy you would have had to stand firmly behind your ministers.”