Testing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s challenge that he would resign if anyone were to reveal any documents proving allegations that he has money in offshore tax havens, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Tuesday said Erdoğan’s close circle sent about $15 million to an offshore company called Bellway Limited on the Isle of Mann.
Speaking during his party group meeting in Parliament, Kılıçdaroğlu, said the money transactions took place between December 2011 and January 2012.
“On Dec. 15, 2011, Ziya İlgen, the brother-in-law of [President] Erdoğan, sent $2.5 million to Bellway Ltd., while Mustafa Erdoğan, the [president’s] brother, sent $2.5 million. On Dec. 26 2011 Ziya İlgen sent $1.25 million and Mustafa Erdoğan sent $1.25 million. On Dec. 27, 2011 Osman Ketenci, the father-in-law of Burak Erdoğan, sent $1.25 million. On Dec. 27, 2011 Mustafa Gündoğan, a former executive assistant, sent $1.25 million. On Dec. 28, 2011 Mustafa Gündoğan sent $250,000. On Dec. 28, 2011 Osman Ketenci sent $1 million. On Dec. 29, 2011 Ahmet Burak Erdoğan, the son, sent $1.45 million. On Jan. 4 2012 Ahmet Burak Erdoğan sent $2.3 million.”
The CHP leader also said Bellway Limited was founded on Aug. 1, 2011 by Sıtkı Ayan and the company was transferred to Kazım Öztaş on Nov. 15, 2011.
But Ahmet Özel, a lawyer for President Erdoğan, stated that the documents referred to by Kılıçdaroğlu are fake and called on the CHP leader to submit documents to the prosecutor’s office today.
Ayan came to the attention of Turkey when a voice recording was leaked to the Internet in 2014.
In the alleged phone conversation between then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and his son Bilal Erdoğan that was uploaded to YouTube in 2014, Erdoğan allegedly tells Bilal to reject $10 million from Ayan, the owner of Som Petrol, which had been granted tax-free incentives by the government to build new oil pipelines from Iran, saying that the amount was too low.
“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,” the alleged voice of Erdoğan says.
“The others are bringing it. Why can’t he? What do they think this business is? … But don’t worry, they will fall into our lap,” the voice says.
Data released on Nov. 5 by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on the offshore activity of current or former leaders of famous companies and various countries indicate that the sons of the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım are involved in offshore holdings.
Yıldırım and his sons have filed a lawsuit for damages in the amount of TL 500,000 against the Cumhuriyet daily for publishing a story on the Paradise Papers.
Following Paradise Papers revelations about Yıldırım’s sons, Kılıçdaroğlu in a speech on Nov. 21 asked questions of Erdoğan: “Dear Erdoğan, do you know that your children, your brother-in-law, the father-in-law of your [son], your brother and your former principal clerk have sent millions of dollars to a tax haven?”
“Dear Erdoğan, you speak well, influence people, play with all of their values, politicize all their values, trying by all means to stay in power. I am asking a simple question to you [Erdoğan]. Have your children sent a million dollars abroad?” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
Erdoğan on Friday filed a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu for TL 1.5 million in non-pecuniary damages for insulting himself and his family.
“If Tayyip Erdoğan has a single penny abroad, he should prove it. If proven, I will not stay in this presidential post for even one more minute,” Erdoğan said on Sunday during a meeting in İstanbul.