AKP should consider main opposition's ethics bill to avoid corruption criticism - columnist

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) should support the main opposition's ethics committee proposal if it does not want to be incriminated in corruption, the moderate conservative Karar newspaper said on Friday.

Turkey's main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Aug. 1 proposed a bill to form what he calls a political ethics committee amid a spat over nepotism.

The AKP has been criticised for nepotism and handing positions in state institutions to people close to the party.

The bill by the Republican People's Party (CHP) head proposes the establishment of a political ethics committee to set out ethical rules that the president, vice-presidents, ministers and lawmakers should abide by, and respond to citizens' requests to investigate violations of ethical rules.

Following the proposal, AKP spokesman Ömer Çelik said the CHP should look at itself first and transfer the party's stake in Turkey's largest listed lender İşbank to the Treasury before lecturing about political ethics.

"To tell you the truth, I found Mr Çelik's response strange," Elif Çakır said in her article for Karar.

She listed similar proposals by AKP deputies in 2006, 2007 and 2016, all of which failed to get the approval of parliament, and cited the AKP's 2001 manifesto promising to provide auditable and transparent political financing rules.

"The AKP should develop an inter-party solution by taking the CHP's proposal along with the proposals it has previously prepared but not enacted. Otherwise, it cannot avoid being exposed to criticism for failing to fight corruption and obstructing ethical rules," Çakır said.