‘Paradise Papers’ inquiry rejected at Turkish Parliament, CHP to initiate censure motion

‘Paradise Papers’ inquiry rejected at Turkish Parliament, CHP to initiate censure motion

‘Paradise Papers’ inquiry rejected at Turkish Parliament, CHP to initiate censure motion

A motion by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) demanding an investigation into Turkish politicians’ accounts in tax havens, as revealed by the recent “Paradise Papers” leak, was rejected at parliament on Nov. 14. 

The CHP will now submit a motion of censure over “unethical tax evasion” by the family of Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan said on Nov. 15.

“We became hopeful when the prime minister himself said he wanted an investigation into the allegations. But the next day he sued [daily newspaper] Cumhuriyet and [news website] OdaTv for their reporting on the Paradise Papers,” Tezcan said.

Speaking to reporters, Yıldırım had said he wanted a probe into the “Paradise Papers” claims linking eight companies affiliated with his family to the offshore tax haven of Malta.

CHP Deputy Group Chair Engin Özkoç said during the discussion at parliament that “having off-shore accounts means engaging in tax evasion,” noting that “even Yıldırım himself wants to clarify the issue.”

“Let’s protect both the reputation of the prime minister’s children and the reputation of Turkey,” Özkoç said at parliament.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Group Chair Naci Bostancı defended the off-shore accounts of the prime minister’s family during the debate.

“They also have companies in Turkey and they pay taxes through them. The companies abroad are related to global navigation,” Bostancı said, stressing that companies involved in navigation often use off-shore accounts.

“It is useful to read and evaluate what is going on in its real context, according to its true scale and depending on how these things work,” he added.

The Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) deputy group chair, meanwhile, said off-shore transactions are entirely legal but could be used a tool for tax evasion. He said Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) should investigate the case and inform the public.

“My main advice to my sons [as I handed them my business] was that they would not use any government funds or cooperate with the government while executing their businesses,” Yıldırım had earlier said after the Paradise Papers revelations went public.

“[My sons] are doing business all over the world. Nothing is hidden,” he said, adding that the claims attempt to “unfairly” defame him.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu blasted Yıldırım for “not paying taxes” after the revelation.

“A politician should set an example to citizens. If you want something from the people, first you have to do it yourself [as a politician]. If you ask people to pay their taxes, why do you not pay them yourself?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

A demand for a parliamentary inquiry submitted by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) about the same issue was also rejected last week.

PM Yıldırım, offshore accounts,