Turkish gov’t, opposition clash over accuracy of tapes

Turkish gov’t, opposition clash over accuracy of tapes

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkish gov’t, opposition clash over accuracy of tapes

Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık says he believes the controversial tape was ‘montaged.’

Turkish government officials say a phone call recording allegedly taking place between the prime minister and his son about how to “eliminate” a large amount of money at the latter’s home is “montaged,” while the opposition party defends the opposite view. 

Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık told reporters on Feb. 26 that it is possible to understand the recordings allegedly taking place between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son Bilal are “montaged,” even without a technical examination. 

“I felt this was a clear montage as soon as I listened to them [the recordings]. Later on, I examined them in detail. In my personal view it is not normal, psychologically speaking, for one person to speak very quietly when the other is speaking in a loud voice. It is clearly a montage … We could say that without any technical examination,” Işık told reporters. 

He added that a technical investigation into the recordings would be conducted if the Prime Ministry demands it from the State Scientific Research Institute (TÜBİTAK). 

However, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Haluk Koç told reporters at a press conference in Parliament on Feb. 26 that the Telecommunications Board (TİB) should release the phone recordings between the prime minister and his son, allegedly held on Dec. 17 and 18, in order to clarify whether the recordings released via social media are real. 

“We demand this, because a prime minister is being accused of theft for the first time in the Turkish Republic’s history,” said Koç. 

He also said the total wealth of the relatives or people close to Erdoğan should also be officially announced. “The prime minister is calling his son in a panicked mood on the morning of Dec. 17. He is mentioning names, such as his son Burak, his son-in-law Berat Albayrak, his brother Mustafa Erdoğan and his other son-in-law Ziya İlgen. These people’s wealth should be publicly announced,” said Koç. 

He added that it was “natural” for the prime minister to deny the allegations. “Of course he will deny it. The other option is that he will go to prison. It is that clear, he is stuck between these two options,” the CHP spokesman said.

Despite denying the authenticity of the recordings, the AKP’s Işık admitted that the prime minister’s encrypted phone conversations had been wiretapped. 

“The prime minister’s phone has been wiretapped. This has been clearly revealed since Dec. 17. I have instructed the head of BİLGEM [the Informatics and Information Security Research Center] to examine all encrypted phone conversations from Feb. 1,” he said.

Meanwhile, responding to a reporter who asked about the CHP’s criticism of the fact that the live broadcast of its group meeting was cut by the official Parliament TV station, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek said the “legal grounds of the situation” were being examined, referring to CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s playing of the recordings during his speech at the meetings.