Top court fines main opposition

Top court fines main opposition

Top court fines main opposition

CHP Deputy Chair Umut Oran slams the court ruling, claiming the court counted even expenses during election campaigns.

The Constitutional Court has discovered irregular spending amounting to 2.7 million Turkish Liras in the 2008 and 2009 accounts of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and has ruled that the Treasury should confiscate an equal amount from the party as a penalty.

A portion of the penalty pertains to expenditures for a lawsuit filed by Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) in Germany against former CHP leader Deniz Baykal and central executive board member Ali Kılıç.

Feneri filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Baykal and Kılıç over allegations of an embezzlement scandal at the charity. The CHP spent in 2009 47,000 liras in attorney-fees for the lawsuit and recorded the amount as a party expense.

However, in its ruling released on Sept. 20 the court said this qualifies as irregular spending because the lawsuit was not filed against the CHP, albeit Baykal and Kılıç was a CHP member. The top court also qualified some other expenses, including travel costs and food expenses of party members for party gatherings as well as gold coins and wreaths presented as gifts at various wedding ceremonies by party officials, as irregular spending. CHP Deputy Chair Umut Oran, who is responsible for the party’s financial affairs, swiftly slammed the court ruling, claiming the Constitutional Court counted even expenses during election campaigns as irregular spending.“According to this ruling by the Constitutional Court, a political party cannot take any steps for its political activities. The top court intentionally qualified the expenses during the election campaign as irregular, leaving those activities out of political area,” Oran said.