CHP submits documents on offshore allegations
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has submitted bank documents detailing multi-million dollar transactions between the offshore company Bellway Ltd. and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close circle.
The documents submitted on Dec. 4 to the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office by CHP Deputy Chair and Spokesperson Bülent Tezcan included a bank receipt, SWIFT messages and founding certificates for Bellway Ltd.
The submission came amid a bitter spat between the CHP and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s accusations last week that Erdoğan’s circle, including his family members, have conducted lucrative money transactions in the tax haven Isle of Man.
Kılıçdaroğlu initially brandished the documents during the CHP’s parliamentary group meeting on Nov. 28, accusing five people - including Erdoğan’s son Burak Erdoğan, his brother Mustafa Erdoğan and three others - of engaging in money trafficking estimated at around $15 million through the company.
AKP officials reacted angrily to the accusations and denied them, urging CHP officials to either publicize the documents or hand them to the prosecutors.
Erdoğan accused Kılıçdaroğlu him of “lying,” saying “there was no money sent abroad … On the contrary, the money was sent within [Turkey].”
“They had sold their existing companies,” he said, adding that his lawyers had filed a legal complaint against Kılıçdaroğlu demanding non-pecuniary damages worth 1.5 million Turkish Liras.
CHP Spokesperson Tezcan showed the original documents in a press conference on Dec. 2, saying that if the money was sent to Erdoğan’s close circle rather than the company “it would mean either money laundering or tax avoidance.”
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office also launched an investigation following the spat, requesting the original documents from the main opposition party for further investigation.
Cabinet spokesperson invites Kılıçdaroğlu to resign
AKP Spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ, meanwhile, invited Kılıçdaroğlu to resign on Dec. 4, saying the documents that Tezcan showed “proves that the CHP’s initial argument is false.”
“These documents prove that neither our president nor anybody from his family sent a dime to any company in the Isle of Man,” Bozdağ said after the cabinet meeting.
Kılıçdaroğlu initially argued that Erdoğan’s close circle “sent money to an off-shore company” but these receipts “show that there was no money sent,” he added.
“These documents are evidence showing that Kılıçdaroğlu is a slanderer,” he said, demanding the CHP leader’s resignation.
“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, now who is dishonorable? Who is the slanderer? Who is the liar?” he added.
New revelations from the CHP
However, CHP Deputy Group Chair Özgür Özel said Kılıçdaroğlu would make a new statement on Dec. 5 concerning the Iranian-Turkish trader Reza Zarrab who is currently a key witness in a New York trial of a former Turkish state bank official.
Özel recalled that the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office recently ruled to confiscate the assets of Zarrab and his family on the grounds that “there is an information indicating that he [Zarrab] attempted to provide information, which should be secret to protect the Turkish state’s security and its domestic and foreign interests, in order to benefit a foreign state with the aim of espionage.” He urged President Erdoğan to reveal how Zarrab could take hold of such “information.”
“They accuse Zarrab of espionage. If the AKP leader does not reveal the person who Zarrab got these documents from, and how he was given these documents, a new bomb will be coming on Tuesday [Dec. 5],” Özel said, referring to further planned revelations.
“Our leader will make the statement in front of 25,000 people in the [Ankara Arena],” Özel added.
AKP Deputy Chair Bozdağ, meanwhile, criticized the CHP for trying to “divert the agenda” for its own interests.
“The CHP will try to change the subject through a new discussion. But they do not have the chance to seize the day,” he said.
“I’m also curious about the documents because I’m curious what kind of new slander he [Kılıçdaroğlu] will make,” he added.