Turkish PM, opposition trade barbs over corruption
Prime Minister Erdoğan also showed a picture of CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with several files and said he was posing with his party’s corruption files during a speech on Jan. 26. AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed to reveal three corruption files regarding Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Mustafa Sarıgül Jan. 26, while opposition parties excoriated the government over continuing graft claims.
Erdoğan showed a document during a speech to his supporters in Istanbul Jan. 26, claiming it was a corruption report on Sarıgül prepared by a commission established by the CHP in November 2004.
Addressing the crowd at the Sinan Erdem Sports Hall, Erdoğan claimed that the file revealed that Sarıgül had frequently permitted illegal construction in Şişli, where he has long been mayor, and cooperated with the “construction mafia.”
Erdoğan showed a picture of CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with several files and said he was posing with his party’s corruption files. The prime minister said Sarıgül had been dismissed from the CHP and asked why the party was now re-running a candidate it had previously expelled.
The Turkish leaders also said Sarıgül’s Şişli had taken a 4 million Turkish Lira loan from a bank in an unlawful procedure, adding that the Savings Deposit and Insurance Fund (TMSF) had consequently seized Sarıgül’s assets on Jan. 17.
Meanwhile, Sarıgül rejected Erdoğan’s corruption claims via his Twitter account yesterday soon after Erdoğan’s speech.
“Black propaganda is a game of losers. You will not be able to stop our march with slander and smears,” Sarıgül said.
The CHP and other opposition parties also slammed Erdoğan, with Kılıçdaroğlu challenging the prime minister to reveal corruption files immediately.
Kılıçdaroğlu called on the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV) to reveal its documents which are subject to bribery allegations.
TÜRGEV, the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV), an NGO which counts the prime minister’s son, Bilal Erdoğan, as one of its board members, should reveal all its files, Kılıçdaroğlu said Jan. 25.
PM should not blackmail
Elaborating on the prime minister’s accusations against the CHP leader in which the prime minister suggested they had corruption files about Kılıçdaroğlu, he invited Erdoğan to reveal those documents and said he was ready to participate in a live broadcast with Erdoğan.
“A prime minister should not blackmail. If you had corruption files, why did you keep them and not reveal them for 11 years?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked Erdoğan, adding that the prime minister was part of those corruption files.
“March 30 is an important date. We’ll all decide to take sides with the republic and enlightenment or with darkness,” he said, referring to the March 30 local elections.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said Erdoğan “will be put behind bars” due to the graft probe and accused the prime minister of being a “thief.”
Bahçeli also accused the government of replacing prosecutors before Bilal Erdoğan presents his testimony.
Bilal Erdoğan announced that he was ready to give a testimony “one month after the main prosecutors were dismissed, the road was cleared and the risks were minimized,” Bahçeli said Jan. 26.
“Security has been established, the right of way has been achieved,” the MHP leader said.
Bahçeli said no members of the “parallel state structure” had been taken to court and that they should be indicted if they were members of an illegal organization.
Erdoğan last month dismissed four government ministers implicated in an initial corruption and bribery scandal and then quickly moved to replace police officials involved in the investigation – an action which many said thwarted a second corruption probe which sought to question Bilal Erdoğan and other people.
The lawyer of Bilal Erdoğan said the prime minister’s son “is ready to testify” to prosecutors in a probe that had been stalled after police allegedly refused to bring him in for questioning on prosecutors’ orders.