Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has reportedly stated that during the coalition talks held after the June 7 election, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) asked him for an assurance that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family members would not be charged with corruption and sent to trial.
“During the [coalition] talks, we were asked to give a guarantee that we would not touch Erdoğan or his family members. Of course we rejected this request and told them [AK Party officials] that this had nothing to do with us. This is the work of the judiciary, not us,” CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu claimed, according to a report that appeared in the Cumhuriyet daily on Thursday.
Police investigations made public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 revealed what was allegedly the biggest corruption and bribery scandal in the history of the republic and which implicated some top officials of the AK Party government as well as President Erdoğan and members of his family. Prosecutors ultimately dropped the investigations.
“During the talks, I told [interim Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu that the CHP would give absolute support to the reopening of the corruption investigations. I also told him that we would also support any proposal to reduce or completely cancel the presidency’s budget. Those words of mine were immediately conveyed to the presidential palace, he [Erdoğan] interfered and the talks reached a dead end,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
The budget of the presidency has been increased by 99 percent, to TL 397 million for 2015, according to the government’s recently announced Middle-term Economic Program (OVP).
Erdoğan’s son, Bilal, is a member of the executive board of the Foundation of Youth and Education in Turkey (TÜRGEV), and was accused of receiving unlawful donations TÜRGEV was at the center of the corruption investigation, which included several serious allegations of bribery and irregularities within the foundation.
In one of numerous recorded telephone conversations that were anonymously leaked online, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and Bilal are allegedly heard talking about a plan how to get rid of huge sums of money stashed at several houses. Erdoğan, at the beginning of the conversation, briefs Bilal about a police operation going on at the time, including the search of suspects’ homes, and asks him to “zero” money by distributing it among several businessmen. Toward the end of a series of conversations that day, Bilal tells his father that he and others have “finished the tasks you gave us,” implying that the money was removed from the premises.
In another recorded conversation, Erdoğan was allegedly heard accepting two villas from businessman Mustafa Latif Topbaş in return for easing zoning restrictions in İzmir’s Urla district.
Erdoğan has claimed that the corruption investigations were an attempted coup conducted by influential international groups and their proxies in Turkey seeking to topple the AK Party government.