Prime Minister’s office denies blackmail allegations

Prime Minister’s office denies blackmail allegations

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Prime Minister’s office denies blackmail allegations

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an (R) and Chief of Staff Gen. Ya?ar Büyükanıt are seen at the Parliament in Ankara, in this file photo dated April 23, 2007.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office denied Feb. 3 media reports that said he had blackmailed former Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt with alleged compromising images of the chief’s daughter at the secret meeting the two held May 4, 2007, at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.

The Prime Ministry’s statement called the allegations “baseless” and said Erdoğan reserved his right to legal action. The blackmail claims were carried by the daily Aydınlık, based on a U.S. diplomatic cable made public by whistle blowing website WikiLeaks.

A cable dated Nov. 24, 2008, revealed claims by police to have obtained “photos and documents relating to the sexual activities” of Büyükanıt’s daughter.

Aydınlık claimed those documents were used as a blackmail tool against Büyükanıt during his spell as the chief of General Staff.

According to cables, Turkish police briefed the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on the Ergenekon investigation at least on two occasions in an apparent bid to enlist Washington’s support for the controversial probe. Responding to a direct U.S. Embassy request, “Turkish National Police November 21 [2008] provided the Embassy with an extensive briefing, complete with visual aids, on their investigation into Ergenekon,,” said a cable. “The Ergenekon prosecutor’s reported weekly meetings with Prime Minister Erdogan lend credence to allegations that political motives are behind the investigation,” the cable said.

In a second briefing on May 29, 2009, the Turkish police mentioned several people who could be indicted, according to another cable dated June 2, 2009.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul