Turkish opposition parties slam Zarrab, question ties
AFP photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have called on the government to take action against controversial Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested last week in the U.S.
“If you are an honest man, clean Turkey of this dirt,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in his weekly address to party deputies on March 29, calling on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Kılıçdaroğlu said the first step of this cleansing should involve re-opening the major corruption probe that roiled Turkey in December 2013. The investigation included charges against Zarrab and embroiled senior Turkish officials, including four ministers at the time.
”Mr. [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan has gone to the U.S. He will probably visit Reza Zarrab there in jail because they are friends,” Kılıçrdaroğlu said, after the president left for an official trip to the U.S. on March 29.
The CHP head also read out pieces from a January 2013 probe into a jet that was temporarily seized at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport for carrying unregistered gold, allegedly linked to Zarrab.
“Gold worth $14.6 million was stolen in front of the eyes of the government and at the state’s customs gates. No one knows where this gold went. But we know. The person in the [presidential] palace also knows. Davutoğlu knows. His ministers know. Everyone knows,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
Meanwhile, addressing his own deputies at parliament, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli described Zarrab as a “charlatan.”
“The scales of justice have been broken for a long time,” Bahçeli said.
Media outlets close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claim that New York prosecutor Preet Bharara, who presented the latest indictment about Zarrab in the U.S., is linked to the “parallel state” of followers of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic scholar accused by Erdoğan of attempting to topple the government.
“We don’t care whether this prosecutor is parallel or not. There is nothing new in this indictment. We already know about the tricks of the Iranian smuggler,” the MHP head said.
“The Iranian smuggler is now arrested and he will be tried. Whatever has been hidden from our nation should now be revealed. The Turkish people are awaiting the result of this trial,” Bahçeli added.