Ruling AKP headquarters employee briefly detained over drug charges

Turkish police released a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters staff member who was detained after a video emerged showing him consuming cocaine, Ankara Gazetecisi news site reported on Saturday.

The Ankara Police Department announced on Friday that Kürşat Ayvatoğlu, a research and development employee at AKP’s headquarters in Ankara, was detained and an an investigation has been launched into the matter.

The police released Ayvatoğlu on bail when he told prosecuter that he was not sniffing cocaine but rather powdered sugar.

AKP Vice Chair Hamza Dağ has refuted reports in Turkish media that Ayvatoğlu served as his adviser.

"Ayvatoğlu is neither adviser nor executive assistant to me. The employment contract of the person in question who has been working as a staff member at the AKP headquarters for nearly one year, was cancelled," Dağ said in a tweet on Friday.

 

A controversial figure, Ayvatoğlu has raised eyebrows for posting images on social media with numerous luxury automobiles.

Ayvatoğlu appears in numerous photos taken with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

The picture of Ayvatoğlu with Soylu has prompted debate about Soylu's supposedly strict stance against drugs.

Turkey has a strict drug policy under which illegal drug possession, including cannabis and marijuana, is considered a punishable offense. All drugs are illegal in the country, and there is no legislation that allows the medical use of any non-pharmaceutical drugs.

Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul MP Gürsel Tekin on Friday took to Twitter to share a list of vehicles belonging to Ayvatoğlu, as listed on a popular sales website.