Turkish Officials Indicted in Scandal

ANKARA (AP)–Two parliamentary deputies were indicted Tuesday on abuse of power charges in a corruption scandal surrounding ties between the state and the underworld.

Mehmet Agar–a former interior minister and Sedat Bucak–a Kurdish warlord-turned-legislator–face up to 12 years in prison on abuse of power and related charges.

Agar was accused of using his power as the national police chief to help terrorists and hitmen involved in organized crime killings. Bucak–who heads a pro-government Kurdish militia–was accused of covering up drug and gun smuggling.

Both have denied wrongdoing–and face trial because Parliament voted to waive their right to legislative immunity. The judge will set a trial date in the next few weeks and the deputies will enter a plea at that time.

The two men are the most prominent figures implicated in a broad scandal that has captivated Turks. The scandal came to light after a 1996 car accident in which a wanted terrorist–a police chief–a lawmaker and a beauty queen were all riding in the same car.

Questions surrounding the accident prompted Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz to order a government report–which revealed that the fugitive killed in the accident was also on the Turkish government payroll.

The report concluded that Turkey spent $50 million on drug dealers and assassins to kill a Kurdish leader and others considered threats between 1993 and 1996 .

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