A damaging new audio recording claiming to capture the voice of Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was posted to YouTube on Wednesday by an anonymous user who goes by the pseudonym Haramzadeler.
In the recording, a voice identified by Haramzadeler as Erdogan’s is heard advising his son not to accept a business deal, but to hold out for more money instead.
“Don’t take it. Whatever he has promised us, he should bring this. If he is not going to bring that, there is no need,” Erdogan allegedly says in the audio. “The others are bringing. Why can’t he bring? What do they think this business is? ... But don’t worry they will fall into our lap.”
It is the second such post to appear on YouTube since Monday. In the first, the prime minister is recorded allegedly telling his son Bilal to get rid of large sums of cash amid a graft investigation. Erdogan refuted the audio’s authenticity, claiming it was faked by his political enemies.
Neither recording has yet been verified.
“We are going to check whether the tapes are fake or not and no statement is planned at the moment,” a senior government official told the Reuters news agency.
The recordings, which appeared within days of the ruling AK Party’s official launch of a campaign for local elections at the end of March, are the latest and potentially most damaging allegations in a graft scandal that Erdogan has said was designed to unseat him.
Late on Monday, Erdogan’s office released a statement describing the first recordings as “completely untrue and the product of an immoral montage.”
Erdogan was scheduled to speak at local election campaign meetings in the western provinces of Burdur and Usak on Thursday afternoon.
No company names are mentioned in Wednesday’s audio recording but the voice purportedly of Bilal Erdogan refers to a “Mr. Sitki”, saying he could not carry out a transaction.
An accompanying text within the YouTube clip says the reference is to Sitki Ayan, the chairman of Istanbul-based company Turang Transit Tasimacilik. The basis for that conclusion was not clear.
It could not immediately be determined what ties, if any, Turang or its chairman have to the Erdogan family.
Representatives of Turang were not immediately available to comment on Thursday morning.
Turang received a licence in 2010 to build part of a pipeline planned to carry Iranian and Turkmen gas to Europe through Turkey, according to its website.
It was granted incentives including tax exemptions on investments of up to 11.5 billion lira ($5.2 billion) from the government in December, according to the Economy Ministry’s website.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-02-27