Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed former EU Minister and chief negotiator Egemen Bağış as the Turkish Ambassador to Prague. Bağış was one of the closest aides to President Erdoğan until he was forced to resign in December 2013 after prosecutors carried out a corruption probe.
The former government minister was also accused of accepting bribes during the state-owned Halkbank case in New York.
Although his name has been pronounced for the position many times earlier, prior to his official appointment, it was during the Czech Republic Prime Minister’s visit to Turkey earlier in September when Bağış attended all officials meetings and receptions.
Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) was hosting the Turkish-Czech Business Forum when DEİK Head Nail Olpak mentioned Egemen Bağış as the newly appointed Prague Ambassador, adding that he believed Bağış would put a lot of effort to advance bilateral and commercial relations with the Czech Republic.
Bağış retweets reactions
Egemen Bağış on his Twitter account did not post the appointment but retweeted the reactions to his appointment.
One opposition deputy, from Good Party, Aytun Çıray, tweeted this was an operation to disintegrate the Foreign Ministry. He wrote that the name of Egemen Bağış has been linked to quite a lot of questionable issues. He said this appointment was not filling one with hope when the reputation and the representation of the country were in question.
Egemen Bağış and three other government ministers were asked to resign after the corruption probe that started on December 17, 2013, followed with a second wave on December 25, 2013. Homes of several other officials and family member were searched, exposing loads of cash in bedrooms, shoe boxes and home cases.
Government said the corruption probe was carried out by police, prosecutors and judges who were members of the Fethullah Gülen movement, a self-exiled Muslim cleric living in US, which the government also blames for orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.
Other ambassadorial appointments have been made in September and earlier this year by President Erdoğan, which have all been subject to many criticisms.