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Former Erdoğan aide says estrangement from AKP began with 2013 corruption probes

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Ömer Dinçer, a former long-time aide of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said his separation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) began with the public revelation of two corruption investigations in the Dec. 17-25, 2013 period in which senior government members were implicated, the T24 news website reported.

On Tuesday Turkey marked the sixth anniversary of the Dec.17 corruption probe, which shook Turkish politics and had ramifications that have extended to the present day.

Dinçer, who served as an advisor to Erdoğan while he was mayor of İstanbul in the 1990s and as an undersecretary and education minister while Erdoğan was prime minister, said in an exclusive interview with T24 that the AKP failed to settle accounts with the corruption claims that became public in December 2013, adding that he at the time had voted in favor of the trial of four ministers at the Supreme Court.

As part of the investigation into bribery and corruption, the sons of three then-ministers from the AKP were detained on Dec. 17, 2013.

A week later another investigation reached then-Prime Minister Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan.

The so-called Dec. 17-25 investigations led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, to which Erdoğan responded by claiming that the corruption scandal was fabricated by sympathizers of the Gülen movement within the police department with the aim of overthrowing his government.

Since then, hundreds of police officers and members of the judiciary have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation.

“For me, the estrangement began on Dec.17-25 [2013]. They [the ministers] should have been tried,” said Dinçer, adding that it would have been better for the ministers to have been acquitted of the corruption charges in a trial.

Dinçer is currently the head of the board of trustees at İstanbul Şehir University, which was established by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

The university has been experiencing difficult days and its assets were frozen by the AKP government after Davutoğlu, who also parted ways with the AKP, made his intention public to establish a rival party to the AKP.

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