Parents of former graft prosecutor say son targeted for ‘doing justice'

January 12, 2014, Sunday/ 15:48:00

The parents of Zekeriya Öz, formerly in charge of a graft probe that has shaken Turkey's political and business establishment, complained that pro-government circles have launched a ruthless smear campaign against their son in an interview that news portal T24 published on Sunday.

Discussing what they have gone through since the corruption investigation went public, Öz's parents broke their silence on the claims that have been made against their son. “I have not lived a corrupt life; nor has my son. I can definitely vouch for him,” Öz's father said.

Öz was removed from the major corruption investigation, which led to the resignation of three Cabinet ministers, and reassigned to a position at the Bakırköy Courthouse last week.

Öz's mother, who declined to give her name, also spoke out against the smear campaign against their family that started after the Dec. 17 raids.  

“Is it my son's fault that he is trying to do justice? If my son was a bad person, why didn't they act before Dec. 17?” she asked.  

Öz's mother also claimed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is trying to ruin her son's career. “I may be an ignorant person, but I have more of a conscience than Mr. Erdoğan,” she said.  

The Öz family said that they hadn't made any public statements for almost a month, but that the accusations had gotten so bad that they felt the need to speak out. Öz's father rejected claims that his son took a lavish holiday in Dubai and said those who libel his son “will pay for their sins in the afterlife.”

Pro-government media have claimed that Öz took a lavish vacation in Dubai last year, paid for by construction mogul Ali Ağaoğlu.  

Öz denied the claims and said he personally paid for all his expenses.

Öz claimed in a written statement on Wednesday that he had been threatened by two high-level jurists sent by Erdoğan, adding that the officials told the prosecutor to write a letter of apology to the prime minister.

Öz said the officials warned him not to proceed further with the corruption probe, threatening dire consequences otherwise.

In tears, Öz's mother also said her son had been threatened by two people sent by Erdoğan.

“We told our son to follow the path he believes in and that we will support him no matter what happens. We are not scared of anyone, nor is our son. We also experienced some difficulties during the Ergenekon case, but we have not faced this kind of smear campaign before. I have been crying nonstop as a mother," Öz's mother said.

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