The main opposition party will not leave behind corruption claims associated with some senior government officials, including the prime minister, the social democrat leader has said, vowing to dig out every claim of graft and bribery.
“There is very clear evidence that they have grafted and been bribed. They have also engaged in influence peddling. We know to whom the businessmen enjoying state’s tenders are paying their bribes. This information will be revealed one by one,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) the daily Cumhuriyet in an interview over the weekend.
Recalling that some government officials sued him for his claims on corruption, Kılıçdaroğlu thanked them and said they will bring phone records from the Telecommunication Directorate (TİB) to the court.
The records Kılıçdaroğlu refers belong to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan whose phone recordings with his son, Bilal Erdoğan, were leaked to the media before the local elections. In these recordings, believed to take place between Erdoğan and his son, plans to remove the money at Erdoğan’s home are discussed.
The leaks of phone recordings followed the launch of a massive corruption and graft operation on Dec. 17, 2013, which caused the resignation of four cabinet members. The government took harsh measures to stop the further deepening of the prosecution and blamed the Fethullah Gülen community, or Hizmet Movement, for orchestrating what they called a coup d’état against Erdoğan’s government.
Kılıçdaroğlu said they will prove all corruption done at the hands of the AKP’s government, adding they will do the same for TÜRGEV, The Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey, a charity NGO counting Bilal Erdoğan among its board members. Upon a parliamentary question, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç noted that the foundation received $99,999,900 aid from abroad between 2008 and 2012. The opposition argues that businessmen have been bribing the foundation in return for receiving lucrative tenders from the government. “We will put in light how much and from whom the foundation received these donations one by one and then we will also disclose which tenders these businessmen have won. We will show their misdeeds even if we have only one member at the parliamentary investigation committee,” he stated.
The committee Kılıçdaroğlu is referring to is a new temporary investigation body to be set under the Parliament roof for investigating on the corruption claims of four former ministers accused of receiving millions of euros from an Azeri-Iranian origin businessman, Reza Sarrab.
Polls’ message: Work more
Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that the party is carrying out a detailed study on the March 30 local polls in which the social democrat party had around 26 percent of votes despite serious corruption and graft claims about the government. “The message we have received is ‘Work More.’ Turkey was faced with such paradox. There were expectations that the AKP would remain below the 40 percent threshold. There was a 2 million decrease in their votes, but they were delighted because the decrease was not as was expected. And we were thinking that our votes would increase. But the increase was not at the level we were expecting, so we aren’t happy about it,” Kılıçdaroğlu underlined.
Vowing to create bonds with all segments of the society to be heard from even those who do not vote for the CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu said they will endorse the party’s female branches in reaching out to houses they could never enter into.
Attack is not personal
On last week’s sour incident when he was attacked by an allegedly former AKP member at the Parliament, Kılıçdaroğlu recalled his description that it was not a personal attack. “My biggest expectation is a healthy prosecution of the background of this attack. Our initial information is that he committed this attack as a result that I was defined as traitor. Then politicians, particularly those on the government, should ask themselves: For what reason was the leader of the main opposition declared as traitor? The address of this question is well known. He has to see the current and future implications of his accusations,” he added.