He exerted pressure on them to buy the Group “SABAH” in return for major construction projects.
The Turkish Prime Minister’s illegal villas
By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
The revelations concerning the scandals that implicate the Erdogan government continue, but no one is being prosecuted since the Prime Minister has removed those judges who were acting against his environment.
The scandal concerns the buyout of the pro-government publishing Group “Sabah”-“ATV”, with Erdogan seemingly exerting pressure on the contractors in his environment to buy it.
After the uncovering of the corruption scandal on December 17, the owner of the Sabah Group, Ahmet Calik, decided to promptly remove himself from the company which vice-president is Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak.
According to telephone conversations that have been leaked on web pages that belong to Gulen’s order, the former Minister of Environment and City Planning and current mayor candidate in Izmir, Binali Yildirim, contacted the major contractors by phone and asked them to contribute, each with a specific amount, in order to gather the sum of $450mln that were needed for the Group’s buyout. A special fund was created for this reason. According to the newspapers “Sözcü” and “Cumhuriyet”, the contractors sent the money in bags, which were collected by Yildirim and delivered to Calik. In this way the surival of the Sabah Group was achieved, while remaining under the control of the government. This particular Group owns the newspapers “Sabah” and “Takvim”, the television networks “ATV” and “Haber” along with dozens of magazines. On a daily basis the Mass Media belonging to the Sabah Group support Erdogan and report news against the order of Gulen.
The Republican People’s party, with an interpellation in Parliament, asks if the owners of 8 contractor companies have contributed to the Group’s acquisition. The main opposition party argues that one of the businessmen, Tengiz Kologlu, fainted when he heard the amount that Erdogan had asked him to contribute. According to the impeachments, the government had promised to provide loans with favorable terms on all contributing contractors. At the same time, a promise was made to include them in the tenderings of major construction.
Erdogan’s arbitrary villas in Urla and the removal of the governor who wanted to demolish them.
Another scandal is revealed, which concerns two villas in the area of Urla, in Izmir. According to the newspaper Zaman, the two villas belong to the Turkish Prime Minister, but were built on protected ecological territory. Despite the governor’s office objections, the construction of the villas was continued and was completed.
Izmir’s governor, Cahit Kirac, who had given the order for their demolishment was removed from his duties and was appointed in a different city! The villas were built by a major contractor and are considered to be a present to the Turkish Prime Minister.
The newspaper also reveals the telephone conversations, in which Erdogan talks about the details of the construction of these residences.
Tappings are considered an everyday occurrence.
The fact that comes as a shock though is that in Turkey everyone was tapping their oppositions’ conversations without any problems and now these illegal recordings are “surfacing”. The telephone conversations between Erdogan and his Ministers and businessmen, the conversations of the imam Fethullah Gulen with his associates and businessmen are all on the internet and the mass media. MP’s of the National Action party have presented these conversations in Parliament, but no one is asking who are responsible for them. The tappings are presented as something common. Even Erdogan referred to a telephone conversation that featured Gulen, which was acquired through tapping.
“If we lived in a civilized country and just 1% of these illegal tappings had been discovered, not just the minister but the whole government would have resigned. But in our country nothing happens. In addition, they act as they are the victims”, reports the political analyst Mahmet Yilmaz in the newspaper “Hürriyet”.
The Turkish people continue to support Erdogan
Despite the resignations of minitsers whose names are implicated in kickbacks, and the corruption scandals that are revealed, the Justice and Development party (AKP) still remains the first political power in the polls while at the same time it maintains a big lead from the rest of the political parties.
The newspaper Cumhurihet, which opposes the Erdogan government, reports that “it is like a joke, 77% of the Turks state that they belive the corruption scandals to be real and that ministers have been bribed, but AKP remains the fisrt political party by a large margin”.
According to the poll conduted by KONDA research company, AKP’s political power reaches 47.7% and CHP’s 28.5%, with the National Action party (MHP) coming third with 14.4% and the pro-Kurdich Peace and Democracy party (BDP) fourth with 5.9%.
Hürriyet’s columinist, Ertugrul Ozkol, addressing Erdogan asks: “tell me even if you get 48% of the votes, how will you govern this country when you have closed shoe boxes that were full of kickback money, when you have closed safes that were full of your ministers’ money? There is not a democratic country in the world where elections are considered the memorandum for the corruption scandals”.
There is the likelihood that the person behind the scandal will be released from prison.
The president of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, argues that Erdogan plans to release the businessman who was bribing his ministers and his sons, Riza Zarab, from prison. “Zarab threatened that he will speak and reveal everything; Erdogan promised him to release him from prison soon and it is going to happen”, he claims.