Opposition throws fake money in Taksim during rally over tape incriminating Turkish PM
CHP officials handed out fake money amounting to 30 million euros during a demonstration near Taksim Square, Feb 26. DHA photoTurkey’s main opposition took to the streets of Istanbul on Feb. 26 to throw away millions of fake bills, in protest against the latest leaked voice recordings incriminating Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son.
In the call, apparently made in the wake of the Dec. 17 graft investigation, the prime minister and his son can be heard desperately trying to hide considerable amounts of cash.
“Everywhere is bribery! Everywhere is corruption!” shouted the demonstrators, a chant coined following the graft scandal, in reference to the symbolic slogan of the Gezi Park protests, while urging the government to resign.
The Republican People Party’s (CHP) candidate for the Istanbul mayoralty Mustafa Sarıgül used harsh language targeting the government over the revelations.
“All across Istanbul you can see billboards of the prime minister saying ‘strong will.’ Here is a test of your will. Either you prove [that you are not guilty] or you resign and go,” Sarıgül said, referring to the campaign launched by an NGO close to the government after the corruption scandal surfaced. Huge posters of Erdoğan with the motto “strong will” can be seen across Istanbul, plastered near main arteries, on construction buildings and even on stadiums.
The fresh tape, leaked onto the Internet late Feb. 24 and allegedly featuring four phone conversations, is significant for being the first source to implicate Erdoğan personally in the vast corruption scandal.
The recordings feature Erdoğan and his son discussing how to get rid of a sum of cash equivalent to 2.2 billion Turkish Liras, according to the opposition. In one part of the alleged recording, the son, Bilal Erdoğan, is heard saying that he still needs to dispose of 30 million euros.
In a clear reference to the tape, CHP officials handed out fake money amounting to 30 million euros during a demonstration near Taksim Square, throwing the paper banknotes in the air like confetti.
“We are ashamed of this situation. Those 30 million euros are only a small share of the amount of cash that the prime minister told [his son] to ‘clean’ on Dec. 17. There is also the mother share. Think about how huge that must be,” said the CHP’s Istanbul provincial head, Oğuz Kaan Salıcı.
Erdoğan has virulently rejected the voice recordings on Feb. 25, calling them “fake” and denouncing as a “montage.” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has claimed that they are “as authentic as the Mount Ararat.”
The Ankara Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the tapes, following a request from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).