Chauffeur on municipal payroll assigned to former minister for years, claims city councilman

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Egemen Bağış

An İstanbul city councilman has revealed that a permanent employee of the municipality has been working as a personal chauffeur to a former ruling party minister for 13 years, the Sözcü newspaper reported on Monday.

The claim was put forward by Nadir Ataman, city council member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the candidate of which, Ekrem İmamoğlu, won the İstanbul mayoral election according to unofficial results in March 31 polls.

The chauffeur, identified only by the initials M.G., was recalled to the municipality this week after serving former minister Egemen Bağış for 13 years.

Ataman said M.G.’s recall was part of a widespread “cleansing” operation launched within municipal departments after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost İstanbul to the CHP on March 31.

He also claimed that M.G.’s private services to former minister Bağış were in violation of regulations.

“If this assignment was legal, why did you recall him now?” Ataman asked. “We know many chauffeurs and vehicles have been assigned like this. We’ll soon expose them one by one.”

“The paychecks of Bağış’s chauffeur cost the municipality roughly TL 780,000 [$135,000],” Ataman said. “We will reveal the ways they’ve been stealing money from İstanbul residents.”

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