Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a presidential candidate, has said if he is elected to the top state post, his first act will be to remove bureaucrats allegedly involved in bribery and other crimes, the Sözcü daily reported on Tuesday.
Kılıçdaroğlu, the presidential candidate of an opposition bloc of six parties, on Tuesday told Sözcü that he expects to win the presidential race on May 14 by securing 60 percent of the vote in the first round.
The CHP leader added that his first act after assuming the top state post would be to dismiss bureaucrats who obeyed unlawful orders from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
“Today, there are partisan bureaucrats in state positions. … After we come to power, our priority will be to dismiss those who are involved in bribery, facilitated dirty deeds and served the palace [Erdoğan] rather than the state,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He said Egemen Bağış cannot serve as the Turkish ambassador to the Czech Republic because he is known to have taken “bribes,” and Metin Feyzioğlu cannot remain as the ambassador to the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) since he was recently engaged in disseminating political propaganda for the ruling AKP.
Bağış, Turkey’s former EU minister and chief negotiator for EU accession, was one of four ministers forced to resign on Dec. 25, 2013, after prosecutors targeted officials from the ruling AKP in a corruption probe. He was accused of accepting bribes in a sanctions-busting scheme run through Turkish state-owned Halkbank to circumvent US sanctions on Iran.
The AKP government says the corruption probe and the New York trial of people involved in the sanctions-breaking scheme were masterminded by police, prosecutors and judges linked to the faith-based Gülen movement, which it labels as a terrorist organization and also blames for orchestrating a July 2016 coup attempt to topple Erdoğan.
The movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
According to Sözcü, Kılıçdaroğlu will also remove the chairmen of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ), the Turkish Central Bank, the Red Crescent (Kızılay) and Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT, which are thought by many to have come under political interference from Erdoğan’s government.
Sözcü also said hundreds of bureaucrats whose tenure is limited to the time in office of the president will only continue to serve until new appointments are made following the election of a new head of state, according to a presidential decree issued in 2018.
They include the heads of the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the National Security Council (MGK), the Social Security Institution (SGK) and the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) in addition to deputy ministers.