September 3, 2014

Erdoğan tapes not doctored, daily claims

The interrogations of the police officers detained in the latest wave in a series of raids on officers accused of plotting to overthrow the government have revealed that audio recordings purportedly of now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that were released surrounding graft probes made public on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013 are authentic and not doctored, as has been claimed by Erdoğan and his aides.

A news report in the Karşı daily on Tuesday written by Emre Erciş said the police gave the detained officers' lawyers compact discs containing evidence to use while preparing their defense, and that the discs had over 300 minutes of conversations in which Erdoğan participated. The records were included in a file named “Legislative Immunity.”

Erdoğan's telephone was not wiretapped in any of these recordings, but he was an interlocutor in conversations with individuals who were under surveillance as part of the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 investigations.

Prosecutors say the investigations of the police were launched after allegations of spying and illegal wiretapping surfaced, but the operations are widely believed to be an act of government revenge for the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption and bribery operations, and are seen as targeting the Hizmet movement. A voluntary-based education movement with several million followers, the Hizmet movement has sympathizers in all segments of society, including the police force and the judiciary. Cornered by assertions of corruption, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) averted the accusations by claiming that Hizmet was the backstage perpetrator of a coup against the government through Hizmet-affiliated prosecutors. The probes, which were made public with early morning raids on Dec. 17 and 25, were stifled by the government through mass demotions and reshuffling in the police and the judiciary. The waves of detentions since July 22 have been perceived by the public as the government taking revenge by mobilizing the prosecutors and judges who have been accused to adopt the government's political stance.

In some of the documents published by Karşı, Erdoğan is talking on the phone with Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who is on the US Treasury Department's “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” list, as well as with former İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality Secretary-General Adem Baştürk and Mehmet Fatih Saraç, an executive at the Habertürk daily and TV station. The conversations date back to 2012.

Published on Cihan, 02 September 2014, Tuesday