Turkey's ex-EU Minister Bağış to be appointed ambassador to Czech Republic - opposition deputy

The Turkish Foreign Ministry is set to rehabilitate a former government minister who was side-lined after being implicated in a corruption scandal by appointing him as ambassador to the Czech capital of Prague, nationalist opposition Good Party deputy Aytun Çıray said in a tweet on Saturday.

Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s former EU minister and chief negotiator for EU accession, was one of four ministers forced to resign on December 25, 2013, after prosecutors targeted officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a corruption probe.

“This doesn’t fill one with hope with regards to the repute and adequate representation of our country”, Çıray said.

Bağış was accused of accepting bribes in a sanctions-busting scheme run through Turkish state-owned Halkbank to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Turkey’s AKP government says the corruption probe and the New York trial of figures involved in the sanctions-breaking scheme were masterminded by police, prosecutors and judges linked to the outlawed Gülen religious movement, which the government also blames for orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Another ruling AKP official, deputy head Şaban Dişli, was appointed ambassador to the Netherlands in September, following the detention of his brother, retired Gen. Mehmet Dişli, over links to the Gülen movement.