EU launches probe into claims of corruption in Turkey’s EU ministry, Bağış

European Commission has launched a probe into claims of tender rigging and illegal recruitment that allegedly took place in an agency linked to Turkey’s EU Affairs Ministry while former EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış –who was implicated in the corruption scandal that became public on Dec. 17– was on duty.
Bağış is suspected to be involved in exploiting European Unions’ s funds and conducting illegal recruitment at the ministry’s National Agency (Ulusal Ajans), thus putting the EU funds which have been received as a contribution to the agency’s operation expenditures into jeopardy, according to a report published in Taraf daily on Monday.

Bağış who was also involved in the corruption scandal that has shaken the country since Dec. 17 last year resigned and replaced with Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a major cabinet reshuffle. The reshuffle took place roughly a week after the corruption investigation became public.

The corruption scandal in the EU’s Ministry’s National Agency became public when an e-mail sent by Musa Ceylan, the president of the agency at the time, dated March 9, 2013, allegedly including statements indicating the presence of illegal orders given by Bağış became public. In response to Bağış’s orders, Ceylan wrote that as the president of the agency, he wants to openly repeat that the agency cannot comply with the minister’s orders on grounds that they are against regulations of the body.

The e-mail which became public not long ago reportedly prompted the commission to open an investigation into the allegations.

Jan Truszczyński , general director of The Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC)– the executive branch of the European Union responsible for policy on education, culture, youth, languages, and sport—wrote a letter within this scope sent to Çavuşoğlu and the president of national agency, Bülent Özcan, on Jan. 20, 2014, claiming that there has been an investigation launched into claims regarding the agency, the daily reported.

The European Commission, according to the 27th article of the agreement between EU and Turkey, has an authority to launch a probe into any kind of illegal use of the granted funds.


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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