Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he holds more documents proving that Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close circle made multi-million transactions to an off-shore company. “I have other documents. In following days this subject will be the topic of discussion,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet on Wednesday.
The CHP head was speaking after he accused five people close to Erdoğan – including his son, his brother and his brother-in-law – of carrying out transactions worth around $15 million to an off-shore company in the tax-haven Isle of Man, brandishing banking documents on Tuesday..
Kılıçdaroğlu has documented on Tuesday that Erdoğan’s family members and relatives have transferred millions of dollar to a one-sterling foreign company on the Isle of Man. Kılıçdaroğlu’s exposures at the CHP’s parliamentary group meeting came after an exchange of words between Erdoğan and the CHP over the off-shore accounts of Erdoğan’s family members and relatives. Kılıçdaroğlu has shared the SWIFT codes and transfer receipts of 13 million 750 thousand dollars sent by Erdoğan’s brother, son, brother-in-law and principal clerk to Isle of Man with public.
Erdoğan has rejected the accusations, saying they showed money received rather than sent because “they had sold their existing companies.” “Money was not sent there,” he said, accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of “lying” and calling on him to “hand the documents to the prosecutor’s office if necessary.”
Responding to Erdoğan, Kılıçdaroğlu said that if there is a received money, “it is a far more serious situation.” “If money is going abroad from Turkey, it is not ethical or moral. But if there is money received it is far more serious. It would mean [there is] either money laundering or tax avoidance going on. This would result in a worse situation. If there is money laundering it would be a subject of international law,” he said.
Erdoğan has rejected Kılıçdaroğlu’s accusations and claimed on Wednesday that “There isn’t a single penny that has gone abroad. What this person [Kılıçdaroğlu] says is a lie.” Erdoğan has also called on the CHP leader to give “all documents to prosecutors and the public.”
“A person who is engaged in commerce can establish companies at home and abroad, sell companies, buy companies, make money transactions and receive money,” Erdoğan said and denying that Mustafa Gündoğan has ever been his “executive assistant.”
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also slammed Kılıçdaroğlu for revealing “fake documents,” accusing the CHP leader of “attempting to destroy president’s reputation.” “Holding a wad of papers in a party group meeting, Kılıçdaroğlu attempted to commit a murder of reputation through our president’s relatives. With erroneous documents, he thought he could damage our president’s reputation through his relatives,” Yıldırım said on Wednesday.
The CHP has announced that it will issue a motion for forming an investigation commission in parliament to probe the accusations. It said it will hand the documents to parliament if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rules in favor of forming the commission. “If you have a courage, we will issue a motion for investigation, and we can investigate piece by piece,” CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan stated on Wednesday.
Tezcan said the banking transactions show an “ethical problem” rather than a “criminal one,” so referring them to prosecutors would be “irrelevant.” “If you think these relations are legitimate, then let’s go to parliament and form a commission to investigate the documents,” he added. In order to form a commission in the 550-seat parliament, a majority vote is needed.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has also urged Kılıçdaroğlu to reveal the content of documents he said were proof of unlawful transactions involving President Erdoğan. Bozdağ claimed the CHP is part of “a large slander campaign against Turkey.”
“There is a big campaign of slander against Turkey; the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its US sympathizers in the New York leg, and the CHP in the Turkey leg,” said Bozdağ.
“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by ruling AKP and President Erdoğan to refer to the civic Gülen movement,
Bozdağ urged Kılıçdaroğlu to prove his claims and noted that the opposition leader was hesitant to reveal the content of documents because they are baseless and indicate his fraud and dishonesty. He claimed that Kılıçdaroğlu did not even check the correctness of the documents he was given, and makes false claims based on things that he has not even bothered to verify.
Bozdağ has also urged Kılıçdaroğlu to announce his sources rather than to keep them as a secret and noted that the opposition leader is a hypocrite who can be easily manipulated by anti-Turkey actors.
The ruling AKP spokesman Mahir Ünal has also urged that “the CHP chair should immediately hand in the documents to the prosecutor’s office and share them with the public and media if there is any element of crime.”
“Unfortunately, Kılıçdaroğlu is sharing the discourse of anti-Turkey circles and he is currently acting in line with them,” said Ünal and added that Kılıçdaroğlu needs to resign when his claims targeting Erdoğan and his family are proven false, adding that the CHP chair has no aim of becoming the ruling party as he has lost eight elections so far and “prepares to lose a ninth election soon.”
Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın also claimed that “The CHP chairman has been trying to be on the agenda by causing disinformation. … They cannot get anywhere by using FETÖ’s strategies of slander.”
Meanwhile, CHP has filed a complaint about state-broadcaster TRT for cutting the live broadcast of Kılıçdaroğlu’s parliamentary group speech, in which he revealed documents about off-shore bank transactions of the close circle of Erdoğan. “We have applied to the Radio and Television Supreme Board (RTÜK) against TRT for obstructing the public’s right to receive information,” CHP deputy Barış Yarkadaş posted on his official Twitter account on Tuesday.
The CHP said TRT’s cutting of the broadcast during the speech was an attempt at “censorship.” “TRT, which is funded by our taxes, openly conducts censorship,” Yarkadaş said, adding that the CHP had also brought the issue to parliament’s attention.“We have also brought TRT’s censorship of our leader to parliament’s agenda through a parliamentary question,” he wrote.