AK Party begins legal action against Iran donation story
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) yesterday began legal action against Britain's Daily Telegraph over a news story claiming that Iran had donated $25 million to the party. The story was written by Con Coughlin, whose 2002 book "Saddam: King of Terror" was released when the US was trying to convince world leaders to attack Iraq. Immediately after publication of the story, the AK Party denied any truth to it and pledged to take legal action. The AK Party asked the newspaper to remove the story from its website and publish a formal apology, but Coughlin yesterday said he had no intention of withdrawing his allegations. In a written statement, AK Party Deputy Chairman Omer Celik said it was strange that the "utterly baseless" story was trying to justify Israel's attack this May on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship, in which nine Turks were killed. Coughlin's report claims that Iran also donated money to Turkey's Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), which organized the aid flotilla. Celik said Coughlin's story tried to paint the IHH as terrorists and link the AK Party to the terrorist PKK, which Turkey has fought for years. "It is also interesting that this story was published right after the (Sunday) referendum in Turkey by an individual whose history of journalism is well known," he added.