Main opposition CHP: Turkey doesn’t deserve to be robbed in name of religion
main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks with other senior party members, dec. 23.Turkey does not deserve to be robbed in the name of religion, the country’s main opposition leader has said, while adding that government interference that prompted a parliamentary commission to postpone a decision on whether four former ministers should stand trial on graft claims has cast a shadow on the panel.
“Turkey is a rich country, a strong country. We don’t deserve to be robbed. Most particularly, we don’t deserve to be robbed in the name of religion and faith. That is the biggest evil done to our faith,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“If the Parliament, the deputies, the government and the prime minister aim at cleaning away the dirt from politics, then nobody should interfere in the investigation commission. Yesterday’s [Dec. 22] interventions cast a shadow over the investigation commission,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The parliamentary inquiry commission was set to vote late Dec. 22 on whether to send the four former ministers involved in Turkey’s Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, corruption probe to the Supreme Council, which only hears cases against Cabinet ministers and other top officials. However, the vote was delayed until
Reading out promises made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in its first ever party program, Kılıçdaroğlu suggested all of those promises were broken.
“We are face to face with a political power whose deeds are in stark contrast to their deeds,” Kılıçdaroğlu said before quoting Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th-century poet and Sufi mystic. “What could I possibly tell you? They expected you to be the shepherd. Yet you are the wolf. They wanted you to be the guard. You turned out to be the thief.”
Having been founded in August 2001, the AKP came to power for the first time in November 2002, then won the parliamentary elections in two consecutive terms, in 2007 and 2011.
Former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former EU Minister Egemen Bağış, former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Environment Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar have faced accusations of bribery and influence-peddling. All four have been cleared judicially of any wrongdoing.
At the Dec. 22 session, Çağlayan, Bağış and Güler filed written objections to reports displaying the growth in their wealth which were prepared by experts at the Financial Crimes Investigative Board (MASAK), eventually leading to the delay.
Speaking during a visit to Skopje yesterday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu downplayed the delay and reiterated that the commission should be allowed to finish its work.
“We are on the side of a state governed by the rule of law,” Davutoğlu said.
Meanwhile, Hakkı Köylü, the chair of the parliamentary commission, rejected accusations that there had been any pressure from his AKP on him or other members of the commission from the party.
“We meet from time to time,” Köylü said Dec. 23, when reminded of reports saying he held talks with both Davutoğlu and AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş before the meeting on Dec. 22 during which they postponed the voting.
“This is not meant to say that we talked about certain issues,” Köylü said.
In a speech at a provincial convention of his party on Dec. 21, Davutoğlu vowed that he would display zero tolerance for corruption.
The authorities will “cut off the arm” of anyone involved in graft “even if it is our own brother,” Davutoğlu said.
Recalling Davutoğlu’s remarks, Kılıçdaroğlu said it was Davutoğlu who was harmed by the delay, and made an analogy, saying: “Now, one arm of Davutoğlu has gone, we are waiting for the second one. The investigation commission will gather once more, let’s see what will happen.”