Corruption raid on AKP municipality carried out by ally MHP members, AKP politician alleges

Six people were arrested in a corruption operation against the AKP-led Elazığ Municipality. Reacting to the investigation, an AKP politician said, "There is no election alliance in the province. MHP members in the judiciary have mobilized (against us).”

Duvar English

Elazığ Police Department in last week organized a corruption operation against a women's cooperative established by Elazığ Municipality of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to the reporting of the daily Cumhuriyet. 

Six individuals have been arrested on charges related to the alleged misappropriation of funds by certain public servants. These funds were intended for participants in the cooperative project initiated by AKP's Mayor Şahin Şerifoğulları and provided by the state.

Elazığ Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has expanded the investigation and called Elazığ Deputy Mayor Nazif Bilginoğlu, who is responsible for the project, to testify.

When contacted by Cumhuriyet, Elazığ Municipality Press Unit officials said that they believed in the innocence of their employees who were arrested in the operation or called to testify, and that they would do their part in case the judiciary decided otherwise.

Speaking to the daily, an AKP politician who did not want to be named blamed the government partner far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the operation and noted, "There is no electoral alliance in Elazığ, the AKP and MHP fielded separate candidates.”

He added, "I guess that some members of the police and judiciary close to the MHP have been mobilized (against AKP)."

The AKP politician stated that Elazığ Municipality was subjected to a corruption operation following the arrest of another AKP District Mayor in the province, Mehmet Enis Doğan, in a prostitution operation last week. 

"Even if the accusations are true, the timing of these operations before the elections is significant. If it is true, the rotten eggs will be sorted out and the necessary actions will be taken," they said.

The Elazığ Police Department announced on March 1 that they had “detected cases where certain companies in the province had committed fraud against public institutions by exploiting various projects aimed at integrating youth into the workforce, increasing the qualified workforce, and strengthening the relationship between the education system and the labor market.”

The police had determined that the business owners and employees of five companies and some public officials had caused a public loss of approximately 4.2 million Turkish Liras (132,000 dollars).

In 2018, the AKP and MHP formed the People’s Alliance, establishing a close partnership that has endured despite the MHP's previous criticism of the AKP while in the opposition.

While the dissidents inside the MHP departed from the party and founded nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party, there has been several incidents where AKP and MHP officials were in odds. 

Some reports in the recent months suggested that MHP has gained a considerable magnitude in the judiciary during its partnership with the AKP.

Due to disagreements with the far-right Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP) on the upcoming local elections, the AKP also parted its ways with its other alliance partner.