Turkish opposition disputes report on Erdogan’s alleged phone calls

The Turkish Opposition party CHP disputes the finding of Turkey’s science watchdog TUBITAK’s report that phone conversations purporting to be Prime Minister Erdogan and his son Bilal were a “montage”, Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ reports.

TUBITAK submitted a report to the Ankara Prosector’s Office on 6th June which said that several phone conversation alleged to be between the prime minister and his son Bilal arranging to “zero” millions of euros in cash stashed at several house were montages. The phone conversations posted on YouTube prior to the 30th March local elections sparked further uproar after a corruption probe was launched on 17th December last year which implicated top level politicians and a businessman in graft operations.

Prime Minister Erdogan rejected the authenticity of the tapes and called them a “montage”.

The expert report prepared by TUBITAK confirms Erdogan’s claim that the recordings had been doctored.

“The very large number of bulges found in the recording during the spectrum analysis suggests that it is a montage created by using several different other recordings,” said the expert report, stressing that even the words attributed to Erdoğan and his son are the result of a manipulation.

“What has drawn our attention in the montage is the fact that it used an interesting method of forming the desired new words by using syllables cut [from other recordings],” the report added.

Following TUBITAK’s report declaring the phone conversations to be fake, an opposition MP speaking in parliament has said that the Turkish government had “pressured and threatened” Turkey’s science watchdog to produce an expert report which would conclude that the leaked voice recordings allegedly belonging to the prime minister “were montage.”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu listed in a written question to Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc at Parliament on 7th June the claims that the government pressured TUBITAK for such a report.

“Is it true that TUBITAK experts declined to report that the recordings were ‘montage’ despite Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Isik’s pressure and threats? Is it true that they have been removed from their posts? Who did order Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) to delete all the recordings from 17th December to 25th December after TUBITAK didn’t provide the fake report that was demanded?” Tanrikulu asked.

Tanrikulu also mentioned the claims that the head of TIB met with high level officials of three mobile phone operators in Turkey and asked them to delete all traffic and location data recorded from 17th December to 25th December.

The expert report was released only a few days after the Turkish parliamentary speaker rejected an opposition motion for an inquiry on Erdogan over the graft accusations. The government has repeatedly dismissed the claims, instead repeatedly accusing the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the graft probes.

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