Former Turkish Minister of Environment and Urban Planning, Erdoğan Bayraktar, who resigned in 2013 amid a corruption probe against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said that all of the information in the probe against him was true, sparking the reaction of government and opposition officials.
Bayraktar spoke with Germany-based independent Turkish web radio station Özgürüz on Sunday, when he expressed his disappointment with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his handling of the probe and said that all of the proof in the corruption file against him – including recordings, technical monitorings and phone conversation scripts – were all true.
Bayraktar is one of three ministers who resigned amid the 2013 corruption case, which alleged that several ruling party officials and top businessmen had taken part in a money-laundering scheme to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Some 52 people, all connected to Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and including Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab and two government ministers, were detained as part of the probe, which then-prime minister Erdoğan denounced as a “judicial coup” against him.
The Turkish president maintains the probe was carried out on the instructions of former ally Fethullah Gülen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating the July 2016 coup.
Turkish authorities quickly swept the case under the rug as 350 police officers involved with the investigation were removed from duty by a government decree.
Bayraktar told Özgürüz that Erdoğan effectively cast him aside in a move that “threw the baby out with the bath water,’’ and that he did not know who Zarrab was.
“I do not know Zarrab. I was not caught with any money. All of the information placed in my investigation file, everything is true,’’ Bayraktar said, adding that this may not be the case with other former ministers implicated in the probe.
Founding member of the ruling AKP, Kemal Albayrak, on Monday said Bayraktar’s remarks marked the beginning of a period where AKP officials would turn into “confessors” of corruption.
Ninety-percent of the AKP would become confessors, Duvar news site cited Albayrak as saying.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ali Mahir Başarır said Bayraktar’s remarks were effectively a corruption “confession.”
By saying that the evidence in the investigation is true, Bayraktar has “explicitly said that those who have received money and kept them are guilty,” Başarır told Cumhuriyet newspaper on Monday.