London and Ankara, Asharq Al-Awsat—The people involved in producing and broadcasting an alleged recording of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking with his son will be prosecuted, according to a senior advisor to the prime minister.
That recording has made waves this week, the latest in a string of controversies that have crippled Erdoğan’s government since a corruption investigation into senior members of his party was launched on December 17.
The tapes appear to be wiretap recordings of Erdoğan and his son, Bilal, discussing how to hide large amounts of money.
In a speech given Tuesday, a day after the tapes were aired on national TV, the prime minister called the recordings “immoral edited material” and denounced them as part of a wider attempt to cripple his government in advance of local and national elections this year.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, Erdoğan advisor Taha Ganj confirmed that the prime minister’s comments about “the head of that organization” in his Tuesday speech were to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, the leader of an influential movement known as Hizmet.
Gülen, a former ally of Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been accused of orchestrating the corruption probe by the prime minister and his supporters.
Ganj said that Gülen would face judicial procedures for his alleged involvement in the audio recordings, and that “everyone involved in these crimes will be prosecuted.”
Through his lawyer, Gülen has denied the accusation of complicity in the tapes, saying blaming him was an attempt to exacerbate the feelings of “hatred and enmity” in Turkish society.
Ganj also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “investigations are ongoing regarding the listening device that was installed in the prime minister’s house, and have been referred by the head of the inspectorate at the Office of the Prime Minister to the judiciary. We discovered that the two police officers who worked at the police department affiliated to the Office of the Prime Minister have fled the country because they realized they would be arrested and imprisoned.”