Leaked documents purport to reveal Turkish graft allegations
ISTANBUL – Reuters
Former Economy Minister Çağlayan is one of four former cabinet members named in the purported documents. AA photoA Twitter account behind a string of leaks in a Turkish corruption scandal posted late on March 13 what it presented as police files detailing graft allegations against four former ministers.
The Twitter account using the pseudonym HARAMZADELER333 posted links to a 299-page document and a 32-page document presented as police files from an investigation that became public on Dec. 17, 2013 with a series of dawn raids.
The authenticity of the documents cannot be verified. The former ministers have denied any wrongdoing.
Former interior minister Muammer Güler, former economy minister Zafer Cağlayan and former environment minister Erdoğan Bayraktar each saw a son detained on Dec. 17 as part of a corruption and graft probe. All three resigned just over a week later. Former EU minister Egemen Bağış was replaced in a reshuffle.
The corruption scandal has grown into one of the biggest challenges of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 11-year rule and comes as his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is campaigning for pivotal municipal elections on March 30.
His government has reassigned thousands of police officers and hundreds of prosecutors, including some of those involved in the Dec. 17 investigation, moves which his opponents say are aimed at blocking the inquiry.
Erdoğan’s aides have dismissed such claims, saying the new prosecutors would carry out their own investigations, draw up their own arguments and push ahead with the cases.
One of those new prosecutors has completed an indictment regarding the Dec. 17 case, according to Hasan Sözen, a deputy chief prosecutor in Istanbul. Sözen told Reuters it would be sent to the relevant court once it had been formally approved.