Turkish parliament ‘recycles’ graft probe transcripts
ANKARAThe transcripts of wiretapped phone recordings from the probe into massive graft allegations have been recycled into notebooks for deputies, raising eyebrows in Turkey only days after parliament voted to clear all four ex-ministers implicated in the investigations.
The parliamentary Speaker’s Office confirmed Jan. 29 notebook pages were made from discarded documents from the panel investigating the corruption allegations against four former ministers.
On the back of one of the pages of the notebook, for instance, the transcript of a phone call between Iranian-Azeri businessman Reza Zarrab and his assistant can be read, in which they allegedly discuss bribing a former minister.
Turkey’s parliament acquitted four former ministers, Zafer Çağlayan, Muammer Güler, Egemen Bağış and Erdoğan Bayraktar, on Jan. 20 on the back of votes from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The Speaker’s Office refuted claims the recycled documents were confidential. “Turning discarded paper into notebooks, a practice that was launched to encourage recycling and conservation, has continued for the past two years,” the statement said.
Deputy Speaker Sadık Yakut, on the other hand, announced a review process has been initiated after the recycled material became an issue of public debate late on Jan. 29.
Hakkı Köylü, the chair of the commission and a member of the AKP, sent the report of the parliamentary panel to Speaker Cemil Çiçek’s office late Jan. 9, minutes before the commission’s legal mandate expired. “We sent 14 voice recordings to the public prosecutor of Istanbul... We did not destroy them, as the authority and duty to destroy them is with the prosecutor’s office,” he had said.