Senior graft suspects testify to commission probing claims against former ministers
Toygun Atilla ISTANBUL
Barış Güler and Reza Zarrab were summoned to testify by the parliamentary commission.The suspects in Turkey’s recently dropped corruption probe, including the son of a former minister and Iranian-Azeri businessman, have been summoned to testify as witnesses by the parliamentary commission tasked with investigating the graft claims against four former Cabinet members.
The commission, which is probing claims against former ministers Zafer Çağlayan, Egemen Bağış, Muammer Güler and Egemen Bağış, began to examine the folders on the ex-ministers at the Istanbul Courthouse in the Çağlayan neighborhood on Oct. 20.
Barış Güler, who is one of the suspects in the Dec. 17 graft probe and the son of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler, was the first person to testify as a witness to the commission. Güler reportedly said he had nothing to say and dismissed all questions.
The dropped legal probe’s chief suspect, Iranian-Azeri businessman Reza Zarrab, was also summoned by the commission, but refused to testify on the grounds that he had just undergone surgery.
The four ministers under investigation resigned from the Cabinet after the corruption and graft case that hit headlines last December highlighted their relations with Zarrab, who allegedly paid them a series of bribes over a number of years.
Ekrem Aydıner, a prosecutor from the anti-terror and organized crime unit of the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, decided on Oct. 17 not to proceed against 53 suspects in the initial Dec. 17 investigation.
The government has refuted all allegations regarding the Dec. 17 and the Dec. 25 corruption probes, claiming that they were orchestrated by the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a so-called “parallel structure” that allegedly infiltrated the state to work on behalf of Gülen.