New Antalya mayor accuses predecessor of attempting to flee from Turkey over corruption

New Antalya mayor accuses predecessor of attempting to flee from Turkey over corruption

New Antalya mayor accuses predecessor of attempting to flee from Turkey over corruption

Menderes Türel, elected as the new mayor of Antalya, shows reporters official municipal documents after they were allegedly burned in a field. DHA Photo

Menderes Türel, elected as the new mayor of the Mediterranean city of Antalya from the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), accused Apr. 2 his predecessor and main rival in the elections of corruption and attempting to flee from Turkey after police seized burned official documents.

“We have received a tip that Mustafa Akaydın will flee to the United States where his daughter lives. Security forces have to do what’s necessary about the situation,” said Türel on the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) ex-mayor and candidate who was narrowly beaten during the March 30 elections.

Official documents were seized by the police as they were being burned in a construction field owned by the Metropolitan Municipality. According to the AKP, the documents were mostly related with land ownership and budgets.

Türel said most of the documents dated back to 2012 and 2013, stressing that such official files must be kept for five years according to the legislation. An official investigation into the incident was launched upon the AKP’s request.

But Türel’s allegations were quickly denied by Akaydın, who claimed that most of the documents burned were “photocopies of municipal assembly daily agendas, project proposals, books and brochures.”

“I asked him to get rid of all those documents and leave the municipality without useless papers. Our friends have asked them to be burned. I did not even have any knowledge about it,” Akaydın told Hürriyet, strongly rejecting that he would flee from Turkey.

AKP accuses Akaydın of corruption

Türel, who also held the office between 2004 and 2009, accused Akaydın of trying to burn documents that may prove fraudulent transactions.

“Those who try to cover up their shame with black politics as we are preparing to take office will not save themselves from justice. We will ask make them render account their actions,” Türel said.

He added that his party will also conduct a separate examination of the files seized by the police, calling officials “to protect” all the documents in the municipality.

“He won’t find a single shamed document even if he examines all of them. This is an official institution and all of the files are registered. If there is any document missing, he can sit and examine them while in office,” Akaydın said, adding that burning the documents in a municipal construction yard did not make any sense.

“Am I stupid enough to burn corruption files where tens of workers are present?” he asked.

But Late April 2, Türel said Akaydın’s house in the countryside was being raided by police. “Akaydın has taken some documents to his house in the countryside and there is an ongoing raid over there. It doesn’t mean anything that these documents are useless. Five year must pass before they are destroyed. Akaydın has committed a big crime and he will render an account for it,” he said.

Akaydın responded telling journalists that his office had been raided without any court order. “There are Türel’s election campaign vehicles among those who came to raid my office at the municipality,” he said.

Together with Ankara and Adana, Antalya was one of the big Turkish cities where the results were determined by a tiny margin. Türel was eventually elected with slightly over 23,000 votes of difference amid tension in some of the ballot centers during the counting of votes.