The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on May 8 launched an investigation into two deputies of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) upon a lawsuit filed by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, one of the top aides of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.Four journalists testify in case over report on Turkish presidential aide's illegal construction
Özgür Özel and Engin Özkoç are accused of “insulting” and “slandering” Altun through their social media posts and remarks criticizing the illegal construction carried out on a land rented by the aide in Istanbul's Üsküdar district.
The property which Altun rented from Turkey’s Foundations Directorate has been recently at the center of attention after daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 14 that the CHP-run Istanbul municipality demolished a pergola and fireplace that were illegally constructed on this land.
Özkoç last month criticized that Altun rented the 241 meter square land at a relatively low price of 258 Turkish Liras ($36) per month and questioned why authorities did not make public the time of the tender held for the property in question.CHP Istanbul chair called to testify in case into taking pictures of presidential aide's illegal construction
“Let me show you a document about Fahrettin Altun. This document is an announcement for the properties to be leased. In this tender lease announcement, all the estates to be rented have been listed. The tender times have been listed for all the properties, except the land which Fahrettin Altun annexed to his garden. Why? So that no one would participate [in the tender],” Özkoç had said.
Özel on the other hand had reacted against the investigation launched into Cumhuriyet on the accusations that the newspaper allegedly “made Altun a target of terrorist organizations” by revealing his address. The journalist who wrote the relevant piece later issued a statement saying that the article did not expose Altun's address.
Özkoç on May 8 slammed the investigation saying that all they did was to “express the truth and criticize what is wrong.”Court bans access to report on Turkish presidential aide's illegal construction
“This is the basic duty and right of a politician. The ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] does not want anyone to say anything about its wrongdoings, extravagances, plunders and inaptitude. And for this, it is abusing all the opportunities of the state, is introducing bans, imposing penalties and initiating investigations. But, tyranny cannot cover the truth,” he said in a written statement.
He said that authorities should be instead preoccupied with how to tackle the “realities of Turkey,” such as “coronavirus epidemic, unemployment, production, the decreasing reserves of the Central Bank and lira weakening past 7 to dollar.”
“The AKP should give up on being involved in polemics, creating artificial enemies, engaging in extravagance, plunders and non-stop ostentation,” he said.
Özel also released a message regarding the investigation saying that they will not be silenced with “investigations, lawsuits and threats.”