Turkey: Media Ban On Corruption Case ‘Protects Thieves’
The leader of the Turkish opposition has claimed that the media ban on a major corruption investigation serves only to protect thieves.
The Turkish media regulator on Wednesday issued a country-wide ban on the coverage of a parliamentary commission probing corruption allegations against four ex-ministers.
But Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who heads the Republican People’s Party, told a party meeting in Istanbul, "Since when has parliament taken the role of protecting thieves." He also publicly accused parliament speaker Cemil Cicek of seeking the ban, an allegation Cicek denies.
Muammer Guler, Erdogan Bayraktar, and Zafer Caglayan - Turkey’s interior, environment, and economy ministers respectively - stepped down last year after their sons were charged for bribery in December 2013. The bribes were allegedly linked to illegal construction permits in Istanbul and the smuggling of gold into Iran, in contravention of US sanctions. The EU affairs minister Egment Bagis was also removed from office due to his suspected involvement, reports Reuters.
According to Deutsche Welle, the Supreme Board of Radio and Television in Turkey has told media no reports are to broadcast on the progress of the investigation until it is finished on December 27 and that penalties will be imposed on those who disobey.
They justify the ban by claiming that media reports had thus far “violated the confidentiality of the investigation and the principle of presumption of innocence.”
Several newspapers, including left-leaning Cumhuriyet, vowed to defy the order.