Release the transcripts at Parliament

Release the transcripts at Parliament

Mehmet Y. Yılmaz
After all, we have seen this: We are living in a country where publishing a deputy’s parliamentary question has been banned.

Deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Umut Oran submitted a parliamentary question on the incident of “establishing a pool” for the sale of daily Sabah and ATV to a consortium of contractors.

The incident had developed as such: Under the prime minister’s orders, a pool was set up for Sabah and ATV to be bought from the Çalık Group by the contractors. The coordination of this business belonged to former Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım who is now a mayoral candidate for İzmir. There was a “release of a tax” from the state to those contractors who won major tenders. The contractors were asked to collect their money in a pool to buy Sabah and ATV.

For those contractors who were short of cash, loans were arranged from state banks. All the phone conversations regarding this process were caught and recorded within the scope of the graft investigation.

When the government started exerting pressure to cover up the investigation challenging the principles of law, somehow these records were posted on the Internet.

I listened to a significant part of these conversations. They are worthless, shameful conversations that even involve “taking care of the mother of the nation.”

At the same time, these are conversations showing how the public tender system in Turkey works, who are getting their shares from delightful tenders through which decisions and the role of the prime minister in them.

A deputy, as part of his legislative duty, submits a parliamentary question about this situation and the answer to his question comes as a ban from court.

I have a suggestion: CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu should release these voice recordings this Tuesday (Feb. 4) at his Parliamentary speech.

Let’s see then, whether Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) would exert similar penalties on those televisions that broadcast the group speeches at Parliament.

The government’s only concern right now is to cover up the graft investigation and stop it from being discussed. For this, they can go at all length, from removing the prosecutors, to applying censorship to deputies.

In such a case, the duty of the opposition is to spoil this game by using the Parliamentary podium.

Do not cry, give the account

Zafer Çağlayan, one of the Cabinet ministers who had to resign due to the graft investigation, went public after a long break. In the speech he delivered at his constituency, he said he had been framed.
Zafer Çağlayan was asking in the Mediterranean city of Mersin, “What is the offense of this brother of yours?”

It looks as if what has been written up to this day has not been adequate; let me remind him of the accusations: He had been given a watch worth $700,000 as a gift. He should have declared it and handed it to the treasury; he did not do that.

He went to an “umrah” visit with his family as a gift from a businessman in his private plane. He should have also declared this; he did not. Actually, he should not have accepted it at the beginning; he did.
His code name has been recorded in a businessman’s bribe list; it is known how much money he has received at what date. He should explain why he received this money of millions of dollars.

He should stop crying and start explaining.

Mehmet Y. Yılmaz is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Feb 3. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.