Politician on Turkish mafia leader's payroll 'not a deputy, parliament can't intervene'

The politician who allegedly receives $10,000 a month from mafia leader Sedat Peker is not a member of parliament, so the parliament speaker's office can't intervene in the process of their identification, Speaker Mustafa Şentop said in a delayed response to the main opposition's inquiry on the subject.

Nergis Demirkaya / DUVAR

The Turkish politician who is on mafia leader Sedat Peker's payroll is not a deputy and hence is out of the jurisdiction of parliament, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said in a delayed response to an inquiry by the main opposition.

Şentop responded 36 days later to a parliamentary inquiry by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) about Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's claim that the mafia boss had been paying $10,000 a month to a politician he didn't name.

Şentop said that Soylu had told him during a 90-minute meeting that the politician in question wasn't a member of parliament, adding that the issue was now in the hands of judicial organs. 

"There's nothing that can be done about the issue by neither parliament nor the speaker's office besides waiting for the completion of the judicial process," Şentop said.

CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel noted in a statement to the speaker's office that the body was also responsible for deputies of past parliamentary sessions.

Şentop responded by saying that it was "unreasonable" to ask him for the name of the politician who accepted money from Peker, as he was not the source of the claims, and that he would be breaching the presumption of innocence if he revealed a name without the judicial process coming to a close. 

Collaboration to hide the name

Özel said that the parliament speaker's response was indicative of collusion among all three branches of the government to hide the name of the politician who received money from Peker. 

"It seems that this politician serves in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the executive, judicial and legislative branches are collaborating to hide this person," Özel said.

Şentop said in his statement that getting further involved in the identification or prosecution of the politician in question would constitute a breach of the separation of powers. 

Ironically, Ankara is often found meddling in judiciary processes, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blatantly challenging the Constitutional Court's rulings and his ally Devlet Bahçeli went as far as to call for the closure of the top court.

"The same parliament speaker remained silent in past interventions in judicial processes by the legislative branch, illegally dropped deputies' memberships to parliament while the prosecution was ongoing and didn't think these were a breach of the separation of powers," Özel said.

Parliament Speaker Şentop had dropped the parliament membership of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu before the Constitutional Court ruled on his appeal against a ruling concerning a violation of his rights.