MidEast

Calls Grow For PM’s Resignation as Turkey Rocked by Second Round of Leaked Wiretaps

A second set of audio recordings purporting to be wiretaps of phone conversations between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son Bilal – this time with Erdogan instructing Bilal to hold out for more money in a business deal – was anonymously uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, days after a first set of recordings, seemingly exposing efforts by the two to hide vast amounts of money from authorities, set off national calls for Erdogan’s resignation.

Reuters described the new recordings, in which Erdogan scoffs at the sum that a particular businessman is willing to bring to a transaction, as “the latest and potentially most damaging allegations in a graft scandal that Erdogan has cast as concocted to unseat him.”

“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 voice on the latest recording, presented by a user under the pseudonym Haramzadeler as that of Erdogan, says. “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,” the voice says.

Erdogan had on Tuesday declared that the first round of tapes were a “treacherous attack,” and had lashed out at among other elements a “robot lobby” that he maintained was attempting to undermine Turkish institutions in general and him personally. The Turkish leader had also insisted that the tapes were a composite created by stitching together various quotes. McClatchy noted on Wednesday that forensic analysis of the recordings indicated the opposite.

The only apparent “montage” was combining the five different conversations into one audio file, said Joshua Marpet, a U.S.-based cyber analyst who has testified in court on the validity of computer evidence in other Turkish criminal cases. He said there was no sign that the individual conversations had been edited. “If it’s fake, it’s of a sophistication that I haven’t seen,” he said.y

[Photo: Financial Times / YouTube]