Daily News with wires
Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu expressed worry yesterday for the fate of prosecutors that have opened up a corruption probe into members of the Public Procurement Authority (KİK), suggesting they could face the government’s wrath.
“We will follow the issue closely to see whether the prosecutors and police who are conducting the operation will end up in trouble. Those who are being investigated are close to the prime minister. We will see how he will protect them,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting.
Police raided the KİK office Feb. 13 on suspicion that public tenders had been systematically rigged on behalf of certain companies. A total of 23 people were initially detained for questioning, among them KİK board member Ali Kaya, two inspectors and a number of businesspeople. Twelve were subsequently charged.
Referring to the KİK’s principal mission to prevent fraud, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “We now see that the KİK has been at the heart of embezzlement. Senior members of the government speak on every issue every day, but why are they silent on this? Why doesn’t the prime minister speak?”
He said the KİK Act had been amended 54 times under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) despite European Union criticism. “The EU progress reports have strongly criticized the amendments on the grounds that they made the institution more prone to corruption. Nobody lent an ear to these reports. KİK is inventing corruption models that even the devil cannot think of. It has carried out a revolution in theft.”
Kılıçdaroğlu said he would also continue to ask for explanations over the high-profile embezzlement probe into the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity, whose prosecutors were removed from the investigation last year and then put on trial for abuse of office. The charity’s founders are close to the AKP.