By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
Besides the sons of several government ministers, it now seems one of the sons of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also involved in the corruption scandal shaking Turkey.
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reveals in a front-page article that the prosecutors indictment refers to illegal acts of Fati mayor (Istanbul) Mustafa Demor who helped Erdogan’s son with state money.
Bilal Erdogan is amongst the founders and current member of the board of TURGEV, a Foundation for the Aid of Education and Youth, which has benefited from the activities of Demir.
According to the prosecutors, the Fatih mayor granted building permits to construction firms illegally. One of the buildings was handed to the TURGEV foundation for “25 years free of charge”.
Impressively enough, many members of the Erdogan family sit on the board of the foundation including his daughter Esra Albayrak, the brother of his son in law Serhat Albayrak, his daughters sister in law Sule Albayrak, Bilal Erdogan’s mother in law Reihan Uzuner along with friends of the PM and other mayors and MPs of the governing AKP party.
The institution has reportedly received donations of USD 2 billion in total from businessmen whose names are involved in the indictment!
Erdogan’s ship-owner son
The eldest son of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 35-year old Burak Erdogan, became involved with ship-owning in recent years. In 2006 he bought his first ship and now has a fleet of 7 dry bulk carriers. His latest acquisition (“Pretty”) cost him USD 20 million.
Fifteen years ago his name was involved in a fatal car-crash. The car he drove hit Turkish singer Sevim Tanurek who died immediately. Rumors suggested he did not hold a valid driving license. However, the Committee of Experts didn’t find any violations by the driver.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Istanbul mayor at the time. Burak Erdogan paid 35.000 lira to buy out the three month imprisonment imposed on him for the accident.
The Chairman of the Experts Committee who said Burak was innocent was in 2004 hired vice President of the Turkish Ports Authority!
Both of Erdogan’s sons studied in the United States as his daughters did too who Erdogan says he sent them there to study because of the ban of the Islamic headscarves in Turkish Universities. He never explained why his sons studied in the US too.
5 Million Euros for an answer to a question
The findings of the authorities keep being published in the press on a daily basis, dealing blows to the Erdogan government.
Turkish Economy minister Zafer Caglayan reportedly received EUR 5 million from businessman Riza Zarab in order to support him in Parliament. The main opposition had questioned the gold trade and other business acitivities of Zarab and Caglayan had claimed they were legitimate. The Iranian-Azeri businessman appears to have paid off the minister quite handsomely for that statement.
Bagis pocketed USD 500.000
The indictment published by Taraf newspaper mentions Egemen Bagis received USD 500.000 to prevent press coverage of Zarab’s illegal activities.
General security directorate chiefs sacked
Eighty-nine suspects were arrested in connection to the corruption scandal. Erdogan however continues to sack security chiefs he believes are serving the Gulen battalion. Eleven managers of the Security General Directorate were removed from their posts. The Directorate has 12 departments in all!
Furthermore, the Turkish government continues to avoid commenting on the substance of the issue. Government vice-chairman Bekir Bozdag talks of “interests that aim to weaken the government before local elections in March and the presidential election”.
There are rumors in Ankara that a cabinet reshuffle is to be announced over the weekend.
Interestingly enough, no minister has publicly defended himself. They haven’t even spoken in the defense of their sons, which is a sign that the prosecutors have tightly “secured” the case.
The best answer to the international conspiracy the government points to is perhaps that of Interior minister Muamer Guler back in June, during the Gezi park incidents and arrests that followed. “Police never arrests anyone without reason” the minister had stated. Now that his son was arrested and interrogated the government is in search of “conspirators”.
Trouble in the Economy
The war between Erdogan and Guler has caused problems to the economy as the Turkish lira depreciated 7 pct in the last four days. The general index of the Istanbul Stock Exchange dropped 10 pct in the last week.