Newly elected mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu claims he has been informed of many incidents where documents and files are destroyed in the metropolitan municipality after it changed hands in the local elections, implying corruption.
The metropolitan municipality of Istanbul changed hands after March 31 local elections, when main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s candidate Imamoglu took the lead against the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s Binali Yildirim.
The newly-appointed mayor spoke to the media on Tuesday, saying that he is informed of many incidents where files and documents are destroyed in the Istanbul metropolitan municipality.
“People are destroying files [in the municipality]. I receive many reports of such incidents from the [Istanbul] metropolitan municipality. There are those who destroy files and those who tidy up their offices [after the elections]. What’s this all about? I want to take some measures there [to prevent illegal affairs],” Imamoglu said.
He said if he gets hold of evidence about the destroyed files and documents, he will share it with the Turkish press.
“I will call them to account for every kuruş [1 percent of Turkish Lira] coming out of people’s pockets in Istanbul,” the mayor underlined, referring to the corruption allegations against AKP members.
Audit reports released by the Court of Accounts in October 2018, revealed a number of alleged wrongdoings and illicit spending by municipal administrations run by the AKP in 2017.
Following the release of audit reports, a group of CHP members filed a criminal complaint against former Istanbul mayors Kadir Topbas and Mevlut Uysal. The complaints are based on the reports concluding that a total of 753 million TL worth of malpractice occurred within government offices that operate under the municipality.
AKP’s corruption record
From December 17 to December 25 in 2013, a total of 89 people were detained as part of a corruption probe, in which the governing AKP faced serious allegations of corruption.
Barış Güler, the son of the Interior Minister Muammer Guler; Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan’s son Kaan Çaglayan, Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Erdogan Bayraktar’s son Oguz Bayraktar, Halkbank General Director Suleyman Aslan, Head of Fatih Municipality Mustafa Demir and businessman Rıza Sarraf was among those detained at the time.
24 of the detainees, including Baris Guler and Kaan Caglayan, were arrested for ‘facilitating the giving and taking of bribes’. Riza Sarraf was arrested for ‘giving bribes and setting up a criminal organization,’ and Suleyman Arslan was arrested for ‘taking bribes.’ The three ministers quit.
Erdogan, who was Turkey’s prime minister then, stated that “those who have dark forces behind them cannot designate this country’s future.” But Bayraktar claimed during a televised interview that Erdogan should also resign because everything that had been done, had happened with his approval.
Erdogan announced a cabinet reshuffle that also saw the three ministers replaced.
Turkey’s sale of gold to Iran that helped the Asian country to bypass US sanctions was at the heart of the corruption scandal.
A second operation took place on December 25, and prosecutor Muammer Akkas wanted to detain a number of people including Tayyip Erdogan’s son Bilal Erdogan but failed to do so.
Media outlets that reported on the corruption operations and the decision not to prosecute found themselves facing the wrath of the regime and were accused of ‘destroying the Republic of Turkey’.
After an attempted coup in 2016, the Turkish government dismissed 33,417 police officers along with 4,463 judges and prosecutors.
In 2018, police officers who carried out the corruption investigations in 2013 were sentenced to life imprisonment by an Istanbul court.