Turkish prime minister targeted in second audio tape


An audio recording purporting to be of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan giving his son business advice has been published on YouTube, following one earlier in the week that fuelled a corruption scandal and unnerved markets.

Erdogan said a similar post on the video-sharing site YouTube on Monday, allegedly of him telling his son Bilal to dispose of large sums of cash as a graft investigation erupted, had been faked by his political enemies.

The recordings, posted under pseudonyms, appeared within days of his AK Party launching its campaign for local elections in March, and are potentially the most damaging allegations in a scandal that became public on Dec. 17 with the arrest of businessmen close to Erdogan and three ministers’ sons.

The audio track posted on Wednesday by the user “Haramzadeler” purported to be of Erdogan advising Bilal to hold out for a better offer in an unspecified business deal.

“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,” says the voice on the recording.

“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.”

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of either recording and the deputy prime minister told reporters on Thursday that they were fabricated.

“On yesterday’s developments, almost everyone agrees that they are a montage,” Emrullah Isler said at a ceremony in Sudan, describing those responsible as an “illegitimate gang”.

“A sort of political engineering is planned in Turkey through blackmail and tapes,” he said. “Now we understand that they have wiretapped everyone and they want to scheme with threats, blackmail.”

Erdogan accuses his former ally Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who now lives in the United States, of plotting to unseat him through a network of proteges in the judiciary and police. Gulen denies the accusations.