ANKARA, Turkey: The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a meeting with representatives of local media organs in Ankara on 5 March. He commented on the alleged sound recordings, between him and a Turkish businessman Metin Kalkavan, which was leaked on the internet on 4 March. He confirmed the authenticity of the tape while accusing the Gülenist Community (or, “Cemaat”) of illegally eavesdropping on his phones.
In the tape, Erdoğan and Kalkavan discuss the tender won by Koç Holding, a massive company which adopted an attitude in favor of protesters during the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013. The bid was for ‘the MİLGEM Project’, a Turkish national warship program, the purpose of which is to build a modern warship. Kalkavan tells Erdoğan that they cannot apply for the tender since they do not hold a written application. However, Erdoğan instructs him to appeal the decision and reapply. PM Erdoğan announced that he cancelled the contract award decision afterwards on 26 September 2013 in the meeting of Defense Industry Executive Committee without giving any reason, even though Koç Holding won it.
Erdoğan confessed the injustice during the bidding process indirectly, saying: “There are so many bids going on and at some point, somebody may be eliminated out of the bidding process and then apply to me. I told him to litigate. The state earns hundreds of millions as a result. And they [the Gülenists] are so low that they listened in to my phone call.”
The fact that Erdoğan continues to avoid making any claim that the frequently-released tapes are not genuine supports the idea that the Erdoğan family and AKP government are nowhere near as pure as they claim to be, particularly when it comes to corruption, irregularities and the abuse of position. He stated: “They keep releasing tapes every day and claim that they are legal. But, they are not. There are laws in Turkey if you want to listen [somebody’s phone calls).” According to Erdoğan, the public prosecutors wiretapped the AKP members illegally, including President Abdullah Gül, and cooperated with the opposition parties to plot a coup against the government.
Republished with permission from Aydinlik Daily.