AK Party shaken by “powdered sugar” scandal

If you are worried AK Party is “Islamizing” Turkey, don’t. It is the amenities of modern life which is corrupting the party, as its niveau-rich engage in frivolities that will put an average Wall Street investment banker to shame.


The Turkish government faced a tough challenge over the weekend after a video of Kursat Ayvatoglu, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was publicized on social media where he was seen snorting what is believed to be cocaine in a luxury car reports Arab News.


The news coincided with more than 400 kilograms of heroin being seized in south-eastern Turkey and more than 3.8 tons of marijuana seized in the country’s north-west in separate operations.


According to independent news site T24, water analysis in 14 boroughs of Istanbul revealed unusual concentrations of marihuana, cocaine and heroine.  Heavy concentrations of dope were reported in pro-AKP districts of Istanbul like Esenler, Bagcilar, Sultanbeyli and Cekmekoy.

Although Ayvatoglu initially defended himself against drug charges by claiming he was just snorting powdered sugar that looks like cocaine as a joke, he later admitted in an official letter that he was a drug user and dealer.


Ayvatoglu’s cocaine use along with his ultra-luxurious lifestyle, that goes against the Islamist values that are promoted by the AKP, drew anger from every segment of the society, except for the AKP voters.


Several photos showed Ayvatoglu, in his 20s, using drugs, gambling, taking bubble baths, driving luxury cars that are not affordable with a parliamentary staff salary and consuming alcohol – a lifestyle often criticized and sometimes criminalized by the AKP.


He was detained on March 26 and dismissed from his post at the AKP. Ayvatoglu is known as the adviser to AKP vice-chairman Hamza Dag with several photos showing him closely assisting the lawmaker in meetings and keeping an eye on him at all times, although Dag rejects the claims.


“The employment contract of the person in question who has been working as bureau personnel at the headquarters for almost one year, has been ended,” Dag announced in a tweet on Friday.


Ayvatoglu, who was employed there for about 3,000 Turkish liras ($370) per month, said in his press statement that he stood on the side of prominent politicians from the AKP in order to get strength and “open new doors for him.”


Several photos of Ayvatoglu with Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as other figures of the government also sparked widespread outrage.


“They want to politicize the issue,” Soylu said in reaction to the allegations of corruption.


After being released on condition of judicial control the day after, he was again arrested on March 28 after harsh criticisms on social media and the testimonies of other individuals who were in the same car and who confirmed he was using cocaine.


“I’m the victim here. I was blackmailed. I’ll file a complaint against this,” he said, adding that those who leaked the video were trying to get some money in exchange for deleting the footage.


The  scandal comes on the heels of several AKP municipalities in Istanbul and Ankara banning the construction of lofts and studio apartments, on account that these are being rented as short-term hook-up joints.



We are waiting with baited breath to report the first sex scandal involving a Turkish politician. We would prefer an AKP lawmaker,  but would settle for members of any party.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.