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
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 December 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
"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,
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.
The lira weakened to a three-week low of 2.2525 to the dollar
overnight from around 2.23 in Wednesday afternoon trade, with
fragile sentiment due to the graft row compounded by emerging market
worries over escalating tension in Ukraine, but had bounced back to
2.2335 by 0650 ET. Shares in Istanbul were down 0.4 percent.
[to top of second column]
Erdogan's office released a statement on Monday describing the first
recordings as "completely untrue and the product of an immoral
Erdogan was scheduled to speak at election rallies in the western
provinces of Burdur and Usak later on Thursday.
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
intended 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.
($1 = 2.2279 Turkish lira)
(Additional reporting by Asli Kandemir and Orhan Coskun; Writing by
Nick Tattersall and Daren Butler; Editing by Jon Boyle and Kevin
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