September 11, 2014

Saygılı accuses gov't of staging a coup on Dec. 18

Former İstanbul Police Department Financial Crimes Unit head Yakub Saygılı has submitted a petition to Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar responding to allegations about the Dec. 17-25 corruption investigations and accusing the government of staging a coup on Dec. 18.

Saygılı is among five senior members of the police force who were arrested by an İstanbul court last week on accusations of working to overthrow the government.

Saygılı was head of a team of police officers that carried out the corruption and bribery operation on Dec. 17 and 25 of last year, which implicated senior members of the government and their relatives. Saygılı was removed from his position shortly after the operations.

A copy of Saygılı's 75-page petition was obtained by the news portal.

In the petition, Saygılı said the corruption probe was launched following a report from the Finance Ministry's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) in September 2012 and conducted with confidentiality as per court decisions. He said concrete evidence was gathered as part of the corruption investigation suggesting that a criminal organization led by Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab was involved in bribery, gold smuggling, money laundering, forgery and arranging prostitutes for people.

He said they had concrete evidence that Zarrab was bribing government ministers such as Zafer Çağlayan, Muammer Güler, Egemen Bağış and then Halkbank General Manager Süleyman Arslan.

The sons of Çağlayan, Güler and then Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar in addition to Arslan and Zarrab, were detained as part of the Dec. 17 investigation.

Saygılı said allegations brought forward by the “Dec. 18 coup organization” are part of a plan to change public opinion and overshadow the corruption allegations, thus discrediting the corruption investigation.

“This investigation is a corruption and bribery investigation that includes the strongest and most concrete evidence in the history of the Republic of Turkey. Prosecutors asked the court to arrest 14 of the suspects on Dec. 20 and they were all arrested on Dec. 21,” he said. Saygılı added that the extent of the probe prompted the launch of a smear campaign against the officials who conducted the corruption investigation.

In the petition, Saygılı also responded to claims that the corruption probe was orchestrated by the so-called parallel state, a reference frequently used by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) supporters and pro-government media to refer to the faith-based Hizmet movement.

He said such allegations are groundless and intend to create the impression that the corruption investigation was launched by ill-intentioned people who act outside the law.

The Hizmet movement and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen have been Erdoğan's targets since the corruption investigation became public. Erdoğan, who refers to Hizmet as the “parallel state” or “structure,” accuses the movement of orchestrating the corruption operation.

Saygılı dismissed claims that the investigation was deliberately timed to disadvantage the AK Party government before the March 30 local elections, saying that such claims were attempts to discredit the corruption investigation.

He said the investigation had to be made public when the suspects became aware that police teams were following them. The prosecutor overseeing the investigation ordered an immediate operation to prevent the destruction of evidence.

Since the corruption investigation became public on Dec. 17, the AK Party government has replaced thousands of police officers, prosecutors and judges. The reassignments are part of the government's ongoing efforts to conceal evidence of corruption.

Published on Cihan, 11 September 2014, Thursday