Turkish police detain 22 in bribery operation against Istanbul’s CHP-led district municipality

Turkish police detained 22 people, including the deputy mayor, in a bribery operation against Istanbul’s main opposition CHP-led Büyükçekmece Municipality. Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu stated that they saw this as an "attempt to damage their reputation” in the run-up to the local elections.

Duvar English

Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece district’s Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation against some personnel of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) controlled Büyükçekmece Municipality for taking bribes.

Police officers from the financial crimes branch on Jan. 18 detained 20 people, including the deputy mayor and zoning and urbanization director, during an operation.

The teams determined that the municipality officials gave construction licenses to the illegal buildings in return for bribes.

The district's chief public prosecutor's office also sent a letter to the Istanbul Governor asking for the demolition of 140 villas in Büyükçekmece on the grounds of irregular zoning.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu deemed the bribery operation as an attempt to “damage reputation" in the run-up to the local elections and added, “In order to create a false public opinion, they do these at such moments. We send our well-wishes to mayor Hasan Akgün. We are with him.” 

Akgün from CHP won 2019 local elections in the district after garnering more than 50 percent of the votes against his closest rival from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who got 47,45 percent of the votes. 

In an operation in the opposition-run Adana Metropolitan Municipality on December, 2023, police also detained 10 people, including the mayor’s advisor, over alleged bribery and bid-rigging charges. Mayor Zeydan Karalar refused the allegations and said they conducted “nothing illegal.”

The next local elections will be held on March 31.