January 14, 2015

Ex-Minister calls for focus on corruption, not parallel conspiracies

Fikri Sağlar, a former minister of culture and a left-wing politician, reacted against Sabri Uzun’s conspiracy theories pointed at the Hizmet movement, stating “they are trying to find this imaginary parallel structure under everything.”

Sağlar’s remarks came in response to the claim expressed in a recently published book by Sabri Uzun, a former head of the intelligence department of the Security General Directorate, who said police officers affiliated with the Hizmet Movement were behind a plot against former CHP leader, Deniz Baykal.

In Uzun’s book titled “İn” (Lair), he said that a video showing that Baykal involved in an extramarital affair, leaked on the Internet in early May 2010, was a plot by Hizmet -- a faith movement inspired by Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic scholar who preaches tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

Sağlar expressed that he had already explained how the tapes were delivered, hence objecting to Sabri Uzun’s claim that the Hizmet Movement was behind it, adding “The documents were delivered to me by a state official. The name of my source is not important, what is important is the theft. Sabri Uzun is confusing the incidents of today with the past.”

Reminding also Baykal’s remarks where he dismissed the claims from a former top intelligence figure; Sağlar reacted against the pro-government media and Uzun by saying “they are trying to find this imaginary parallel structure under everything.”

On Saturday, Baykal dismissed a claim by a former top intelligence figure that a sex tape which led to his resignation was a plot against him conducted by the faith-based Hizmet movement, saying “These are empty words. Such issues need a more solid, serious investigation.”

“No need to speak any more about it, because Baykal has dismissed the claims,” Sağlar added.

Speaking also about Dec. 17 and 25 graft and corruption scandal, Sağlar said “the evidence never could be obfuscated. One day, suspected of graft and corruption will stand up before the judge. Linking the graft and corruption case to ‘parallel structure’ is ruthlessness.”

Sağlar drew attention to the parliamentary commission, which voted against referring four former ministers to the Supreme State Council and did not act upon the evidence and documents. The commission was established to investigate claims of corruption from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), yet it had an AK Party majority of 9 in the 14-member committee. Sağlar said, “The commission was established by ruling government and those ministers’ were the AK Party’s ministers. As all of you know, those ministers were thinking, if I stand trial, [President] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stands trial too.”

Fikri Sağlar also pointed to the increase in high-level corruption, stating “it does not matter who was behind the findings. People like Sabri Uzun are after the individuals who shed light on the crime.”

“There is a repeated attempt to cover up the corruption. If you keep blaming people using the ‘parallel card’ then one day people will have say ‘enough!’.” stated Sağlar.

The highly-publicized investigation, which was kicked off on Dec. 17, 2013, implicated sons of several ministers, pro-government businessmen and the CEO of the state owned Halkbank. At the heart of the probe was Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who was involved in money laundering schemes as part of his strategy to bypass US-led sanctions on Iran.

Published on BGNNews, 14 January 2015, Wednesday