Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum has boasted about using his ministry for election propaganda and said that “using his ministerial authority” was his utmost right.
Kurum made the comments on May 4 during an interview with journalist Cüneyt Özdemir. According to the footage shared by Özdemir on his Twitter account, the journalist asked the minister if he was “using his ministry's power in the elections.” The minister answered the question as follows: “If the ministry's power means authority, I am using my authority. Of course, I will use it.”
Kurum's comments came amid the criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that is it misusing state resources to gain electoral advantage over the opposition.
When Özdemir inquired about this criticism, the minister said: “This is what we do; you know, what we are doing? For example, we go to (Istanbul’s district) Ataşehir in the morning, and a citizen (there) says, ‘Mr. Minister, declare this place a reserve area (for its protection), (or) let us benefit from such and such exemptions.’ And we sign (the relevant authorization) in the evening.”
He said that he is using “all the authority, power” of his ministry to solve the problems of citizens during the election process. “Of course, we will use (the ministry’s power). This is the ministry’s duty. But except that, we are not using one single penny of the ministry, for our own personal use,” he said.