Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pressure on Municipalities Extends Beyond BDP

Izmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu addresses thousands of people who came together in central İzmir Monday to protest the recent police raid on the municipality. DHA photo from Hurriyet Daily News

From Hurriyet Daily News:
Approximately 50 employees of municipalities in the Aegean provinces of İzmir’s Metropolitan and Karabağlar municipalities as well as Aydın’s Kuşadası Municipality, including high-ranking officials, were detained Monday morning on corruption allegations that included interfering with public tenders.

The move came after a report prepared by the Court of Accounts, indicating corruption claims worth 40 million Turkish Liras in the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.

While the police search continued on Tuesday, some 10 people were released after investigation. The probe surrounding 34 İzmir Municipality officials still continues.

“It is a politically oriented move aiming to disperse a fear of empire not only in the İzmir and Aydın but also among overall CHP-run municipalities in the country prior to the elections,” former Health Ministry undersecretary Aytun Çıray, who is also the CHP’s deputy candidate for İzmir, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

. . . .

The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, members, meanwhile, emphasized the role of judiciary in the move. Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek on Tuesday said what happened in İzmir was a result of the court decision and the investigation carried out by İzmir Public Prosecutor Office could not be associated with the ruling government.
The AKP has announced that capture Izmir in the June parliamentary elections is a major goal for the party. Izmir, long seen as haven of trendy swimsuit-wearing, fish-eating "white Turks," has long been a CHP stronghold. The CHP has denounced the raids as political. Izmir mayor Aziz Kocaoglu has called for the release of those municipal officials detained in the raid.

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