Interior Ministry: Not the public’s business that former minister still using state-owned mansion

Turkey’s Interior Ministry declined the Cumhuriyet daily’s request for an explanation regarding former Interior Minister Efkan Ala still living in a mansion owned by the Ankara Governor’s Office even though he has resigned his position, the daily reported on Monday.

Ala resigned from his post on March 7 to run in the country’s parliamentary elections scheduled for June 7. Sabahattin Ozturk was assigned as the new interior minister. However, the former minister has not yet left the state-owned mansion he currently lives in.

When Cumhuriyet requested information on the situation under a law enabling citizens to ask for official statement, the Interior Ministry rejected giving an explanation. According to Cumhuriyet, the response from the Interior Ministry regarded the daily’s demand for information as quotnot being within the law on requesting information,quot because the issue does not interest the public but involves the in-house regulations of state bodies regarding their personnel.quot

Ala recently came under fire after saying that he gave orders in a clash between the Turkish army and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Southeast, despite him no longer being the interior minister, but only a ruling party member.

In March 2014, a scandalous audio recording leaked on YouTube featured an alleged conversation between former Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu and Ala — who was the Prime Ministry undersecretary at the time. The voice allegedly belonging to Ala was heard telling Mutlu to order a raid on journalist Mehmet Baransu’s house and arrest him for publishing state documents related to a corruption case.

quotDetain him immediately. He is committing a crime and nothing has been done to him. As long as he continues to publish the documents, it is impossible to talk about the existence of a state. There is no need for a court order. Just break his door and take him. Take the prosecutor as well [if the prosecutor refuses to take action against Baransu],” the voice alleged to be Ala was heard saying in the audio clip.

In another leaked recording of a phone call, a voice, supposedly Ala’s, was heard telling Tayfun Acarer, the head of the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK), to close down Baransu’s news website, saying: quotWe can draft a law and cause what you did to not be a crime. Don’t be afraid of the prosecutor.quot