Opposition questions alleged bribery under former agriculture minister

Main opposition CHP has submitted a proposal to parliament to investigate bribery allegations against the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry's personnel during dismissed Minister Bekir Pakdemirli's time in office.

Duvar English

Deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have submitted a proposal to parliament regarding bribery allegations within the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry during the period of former Minister Bekir Pakdemirli who was dismissed on March 4.

The proposal said that an investigation was launched by the State Supervisory Board (DDK) into the relevant ministry personnel during Pakdemirli's term, and various allegations of irregularities and bribery came to the fore, ANKA News Agency reported on March 16. 

“The first subject of the investigation was the allegation that a bribe was requested in return for the completion of the import of live animals brought to Turkey from abroad and their unloading into the port,” the proposal said. The DDK found irregularities in some tenders held by the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) within the ministry, the CHP proposal said. 

The DDK investigation also focused on the allegations of bribery concerning mining firms' operations on forest lands, according to the CHP proposal. "It is alleged that irregularities were undertaken for the long-term lease transactions of the lands that lost their property of being forest land, and that the leased lands were transferred to familiar names,” the proposal said. 

A rapid succession of wildfires engulfing Turkey killed some 100 people in the summer of 2020 during the time when Pakdemirli was the minister. 

The government was criticized over the lack of firefighting planes, with Turkey forced to accept help from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Ukraine.

Pakdemirli at the time blamed opposition-run municipalities, prompting the CHP to call for his resignation.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 4 appointed Vahit Kirişci as Agriculture and Forestry Minister, replacing Pakdemirli.