Probe Launched After Turkish Deputy PM’s Accusations Against Ankara Mayor

gokcek-arinc1The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation after Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç accused Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek of corruption, amid rising intra-government friction.

Arınç declared that Gökçek is corrupt and has “no manners” in an unusually frank speech on March 23, hours after the latter called for his resignation.

Gökçek “has sat in the lap” of the Gülen movement, Arınç claimed, referring to the movement that has been targeted by the government since the huge graft probe broke late in 2013.

“He has sold Ankara to this structure plot by plot” Arınç said, adding that he was ready to “reveal the mayor’s wrongdoings.”

Investigations have now been launched into Arınç, who is accused of official misconduct and covering up crimes, and Gökçek, on charges of embezzlement and misconduct.

If criminal elements are detected, permission to investigate Gökçek will be requested from the Interior Ministry.

A summary of proceedings needs to be prepared and sent to parliament to prosecute Arınç, who has legislative immunity.

Arınç’s remarks came hours after Gökçek called on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to dismiss him for engaging in a war of words with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the Kurdish peace process.

The Ankara mayor accused Arınç, one of the founders of the AKP along with Erdoğan, of “serving” the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.