The government is trying to cover up corruption by describing the recent graft probe as a coup attempt, Turkey’s main opposition leader has said.
“There is no coup, nobody plans a coup,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu toldCHP lawmakers on Jan. 14 at a parliamentary group meeting.
“We asked questions and still expect answers; did coup plotters put $4.5 million in the show box of a bank’s general manager? Were four of your ministers coup plotters? They rob the country and [the prime minister] says he is the victim of a coup attempt. Enough with the victim tactics,” said Kılıçdaroğlu, referring to the recent graft probe that included high-level bureaucrats and the sons of three ministers.
Four ministers allegedly involved in corruption were removed from the Cabinet in a reshuffle that took place shortly after the probe launched on Dec. 17.
“Dec. 17 is very important,” said Kılıçdaroğlu. “I said ‘$247 billion liras have been stolen from the state,’ and the government said this number was exaggerated. Tell us the real number than.”
The CHP leader said “the people’s money” had been stolen. “The money taken is made up of the taxes of 76 million people,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the recent massive purges in the police department. He asked why police officers were now targeted, while on the contrary they were protected after they allegedly killed Gezi protesters Ali İsmail Korkmaz and Ethem Sarısülük.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also slammed the government over the corruption allegations.
“The government has awarded to tycoons the money that it withheld from the poor,” Bahçeli said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting. “The Turkish nation will settle accounts with this cruel government at the polls. The national will is going to end the rule of the bandits.”
He also slammed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s broader economic policies, saying recent developments would force foreign capital to flow out of the country and noting Turkey’s major current account deficit.
“The country has to finance a debt of $220.5 billion in 2014. How can we find the resources in such a problematic situation? When will Prime Minister Erdoğan understand that he is throwing our beloved nation into the fire?” Bahçeli said.