Two ministers' sons arrested in Turkey’s corruption probe
Turkey's well-known construction tycoon Ali Ağaoğlu was released Dec. 20 by an Istanbul court. CİHAN photo
Some 16 suspects, including sons of two ministers and businessman Reza Sarrab, have been arrested over their alleged involvement in a graft scandal that hit the Justice and Development (AKP) government.
Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan’s son Kaan Çağlayan and Interior Minister Muammer Güler’s son Barış Güler, Azeri businessman Sarrab and Halkbank General Manager Süleyman Aslan were arrested Dec. 21 by a court on duty in Istanbul, daily Hürriyet reported.
Three prosecutors looking into the case had sent 49 suspects to court with an arrest demand over charges of gold smuggling, money laundering and bribery.
The court released 42 suspects in the late hours of Dec. 20 and early hours of Dec. 21.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar’s son Abdullah Oğuz Bayraktar,Fatih Mayor Mustafa Demir and businessman Ali Ağaoğlu were among those released.
The prosecutor's office issued a ban on leaving the country for those who were released.
The operations were made up of three separate investigations in which a total of 71 people have been detained with morning raids.
The first raid was launched against Zarrab on allegations that he was running a crime ring. The Azeri businessman is accused of paying bribes to Cabinet members to cover his suspicious money transactions and get Turkish citizenship for his relatives and his men in the alleged crime gang.
The second probe was regarding illegal construction permits given to several firms in exchange for bribes. Oğuz Bayraktar, Ağaoğlu, Osman Ağca and Emrullah Turanlı, Environment Ministry General Manager Mehmet Ali Kahraman, Environment Minister Adviser Sadık Soylu, Emlak Konut GYO General Manager Murat Kurum, TOKİ Istanbul estate department head Ali Seydi Karaoğlu, Environment Ministry planning official Turgay Albayrak, TOKİ city planning branch head Yavuz Çelik and 14 others are detained as part of this second probe.
The third probe is into allegations of construction permits given to a firm by Istanbul’s Fatih Municipality, despite reports ruling that this construction would threaten the safety of the newly built Marmaray tunnel.