The clan relations principle has been a prime factor in business affairs for centuries in numerous Islamic and Middle Eastern countries. Unfortunately, in recent months we’ve often witnessed evidence that in Turkey the family of Tayyip Erdogan has been transformed in some sort of carnivorous octopus that has not simply entangled the Turkish economy and politics, but has also extended its tentacles far beyond the state.
It is hardly necessary to remind anyone of all the scandals in which the members of this family have been engaged. Here are just some examples of its connections with the Islamic State (ISIL) and other terrorist groups:
- Erdogan’s daughter – Sümeyye Erdogan – has been running a covert military hospital, which is treating Islamic State militants.
- With the consent of Erdogan, Turkish intelligence experts have been training Islamists at secret bases in the Konya Province inside the Turkish border.
- The Islamic State is secretly cooperating with the third son of the President, Bilal Erdogan, to smuggle stolen oil through seaports that remain under his direct control. These criminal activities are covered by the BMZ Group Denizcilik ve İnşaat Sanayi Anonim Şirketi company that transports stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil to international markets.
After a series of reports on his involvement in illegal activities, Tayyip Erdogan ordered a series of arrests targeting independent journalists in a desperate bid to cover up his role in the illegal operations. For instance, Turkish special forces arrested the editor and correspondent of the Turkish newspaper “Respublika” Can Dündar and Erdem Gul who published an article on the weapons supplies to ISIL militants that Turkish authorities had been running. President Erdogan has demanded that those journalists must spend the rest of their lives in jail without any chance to be released whatsoever.
However, Western officials and international organizations couldn’t care less about all these facts. Moreover, Tayyip Erdoganhas has received much positive attention from EU officials, despite the role he’s been playing in the rapidly expanding migration crisis.
It’s not surprising that there’s an ever growing number of those opposing the policies of the Turkish President across the globe. For instance, graffiti stating that Erdogan is a terrorist has been pained on the walls of Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy. An unprepared reader might ask: why Bologna? – The answer is simple. Bilal Erdogan has been trying to get a degree in this institution.
However, his recent visit to Italy has been marked by yet another scandal. It’s been reported that Murat Hakan Uzan – a member of a family of Turkish businessmen that has been opposing Erdogan and his clan and therefore was forced to emigrate to France because of continuous persecution in Turkey, has demanded Italian law enforcement authorities to investigate the activities of Erdogan’s son – Bilal. According to Italian media, this family accused Bilal Erdogana of violating European and, in particular, Italian financial laws, since he has allegedly brought with him a considerable amount of cash in an attempt to launder it in Italy. The plaintiffs consider themselves to be the victim of the family of President Erdogan, who illegally took possession of their business in Turkey. The Italian authorities have been desperately trying to downplay this scandal.
At the direction of President Erdogan, the Turkish representatives in Italy are actively trying to gloss over this matter and prevent leaks of information to the media.
Taking into account the previously existing cases of involvement of family members of Erdogan in various illegal transactions, the charges of their money laundering in Italy may be well-founded.
We have already repeatedly witnessed numerous accusations against Erdogan and his family regarding their involvement in a variety of crimes. This includes providing aid to the Islamic State, a terrorist organization, which constitutes a direct violation of the UN Securtity Council. In these circumstances, it is surprising that this political leader, which even in the US media is openly referred to as “irresponsible and adventurous” continues with impunity to “steer” Turkey and the Turkish people.
That is why now it is very important to ask, what if the Bologna prosecutor’s office opened a case to investigate B.Erdogana after considering accusations by the Uzan family? Or, will Recep Erdogan, under the auspices of Washington (since his son was enrolled to study at the American Institute) again is able to avoid any legal prosecution, including an investigation into the links of his family with international terrorism?
Martin Berger is a Czech-based freelance journalist and analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.