Protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara on Tuesday after news broke of tape recordings, allegedly of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordering his son to dispose of vast amounts of cash.
It’s the latest episode in a probe into the financial affairs of Cabinet ministers that began on December 17.
Several minister’s sons were held on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party claims to have authenticated the recordings, but Erdogan denies this.
He told parliament:
“This is a treacherous attack against the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic. I would like to underline this is not an attack against Recep Tayyip Erdogan or the leader of the AK Party. This is a callous attack against Turkey’s Prime Minister.”
Erdogan’s official website also denies the allegations, dismissing them as “fabricated”. But what might the impact be if they could be proven beyond doubt?
Asli Aydintabas, a journalist from the daily Milliyet newspaper said:
“If true, this would actually be different in the sense that this is hoarding money in your home. So far, the things we’ve heard are not about the prime minister and money. It’s the prime minister getting favours, maybe the prime minister organising… exerting his influence in the media, the prime minister’s friend building a villa for him. But this is actual money, cash, changing hands…”
The Turkish premier now faces growing calls for his resignation and has hit back with his own conspiracy claims.
Despite the mudslinging, everything hangs on the authentication process of the recordings.