Probe top graft figure instead of free media, opposition says

Amid government raids on the ipek Media Group, former opposition politicians have called for the reopening of probes into Reza Zarrab, a top figure in a Dec. 17, 2013 corruption investigation.
and”If they are searching for dirty money, they should look at Zarrab,and” said former opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali andOzgandundanduz, who was a member of the investigative commission that looked into four cabinet ministers who were implicated in a corruption scandal and subsequently resigned after the December 2013 scandal broke. and”On Dec. 17 everything was out in the open. Money that was garnered through criminal activities was seized, but then returned by government, with interest,and” said Erdal Aksandunger, another commission member and former CHP deputy. and”Zarrab and some other businessmen were caught red-handed. In the official documents there was everything from fictitious exports to money laundering. However, thanks to the AKP [Justice and Development Party] [these businessmen] were cast as heroes. With things as they are, trying to take over a media group through claims of dirty money is unacceptable. After Nov. 1 they will be held accountable for all of this,and” Aksandunger said, referring to the Koza ipek raid and the upcoming general election.
Koza ipek was put under administrative receivership by an Ankara court on Monday on the grounds of allegedly financing terrorism though auditors had failed to find any impropriety. The broadcast of the groupand’s TV channels, known for their critical stance against the government, was halted on Wednesday.
Zarrab, who was accused of being the ringleader of a money laundering and gold smuggling ring in Turkey established to circumnavigate sanctions against Iran, was among 21 people — including the sons of three then-ministers, a district mayor and other high-profile figures — who were arrested as part of the operation on Dec. 17, 2013 in a series of simultaneous police raids. Istanbul prosecutors decided to drop the investigations in October of last year. A criminal organization allegedly headed by Zarrab, who is of Iranian origin but lives in Turkey, is claimed to have distributed a total of TL 137 million ($66 million) in bribes to the former economy and interior ministers, their sons and other bureaucrats, to cloak fictitious exports and money laundering. In documents sent by the Istanbul Prosecutorand’s Office to Parliament, former ministers Zafer andcailayan, Muammer Ganduler and Egemen Baiii were accused of accepting bribes and Erdogan Bayraktar was accused of malfeasance.

Black day for Turkish media: Today’s Zaman shows solidarity with Ipek group

The broadcasting of ipek Media Group television stations Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk was cut on Wednesday afternoon after police teams escorting a board of trustees appointed to take over management of the group were seen entering the television stations’ satellite uplink room.
Bugandun TV Editor-in-Chief Tarik Toros was escorted by police officers out of the broadcasting room. A handwritten notice from the new executive board of Bugandun TV announced that he had been sacked as the editor-in-chief of the station.

andquotI am deeply sorry that I could not keep the [satellite] signal on,andquot Toros told reporters as he left the building. andquotI hope we will be able to continue where we left off one day. We still have a lot to say.andquot

span style=”font-size:12pxTarik Toros speaking to the media after he was escorted out of the building. (Photo: Today’s Zaman)
The two stations were only broadcasting online as of Wednesday evening, although the station’s staff members were not being allowed into the broadcasting room.
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SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN