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    May 10, 2016

    The Erdogan family business

    "Erdogan's new presidential palace in Ankara"

    The Erdogan-Clan - extremely linked, extremely controversial. In middle, son-in-law Berat Albayrak, at the wedding with Erdogan's daughter Esra, could soon become Premier. Erdogan's youngest son Bilal (r.) is in disrepute for criminal transactions.

    Das Bild, May 7, 2016

    Translated from German by Tom Winter May 9, 2016

    A day after the resignation of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday it has become clear how vehemently Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expanding his power over the Bosporus.

    Turkey experts agree: Davutoglu, with his high profile in the EU refugee negotiations, and the criticism of the presidential system Erdogan wants, was becoming too powerful to suit Erdogan. Erdogan on Saturday made it clear all over again that he discounts the EU call for a change in the terrorism laws in Turkey: "Those who criticize us because of our fight against terrorism, have themselves put democracy and freedom on the shelf, when the bombs started to explode on their own ground," Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

    The odds-on successor for the post of prime minister is therefore also close to Erdogan: his son-in-law and Energy Minister, Berat Albayrak. The 38-year-old married the oldest daughter Esra Erdogan in 2004, and thus has long been an integral part of the clan. Moreover Albayrak is considered ardent admirer of his father-in-law. Erdogan could not want greater loyalty.

    A powerful circle 

    They hide behind high walls in Istanbul's Üsküdar. The Erdogan family inhabits five villas there - all are owned by the sons Ahmet and Bilal. Value: around six million euros. Erdogan himself lived here only for rent, they say. While their father earns just 50,00 euros a year, the children are swimming in money. Where does it come from? 

    Official figures do not exist. 

    According to the opposition newspaper "Cumhuriyet" it all derives from entrepreneurial commitments right down to the youngest daughter - in industries such as cosmetics, ready meals, shipping and jewels.

    The members of the Erdogan-clan

    ► The wife Emine (61) At great events she is always at Erdogan's side. Otherwise she discreetly stays in the background. At least, most of the time. Recently she made the headlines when she extolled the virtues of a Harem.

    "The harem was a school for members of the Ottoman dynasty and a teaching facility, where women were prepared for life," she said in early March. Critics blasted her for palliating a time when women were kept as sex slaves and had no rights.

    ► The eldest son: Ahmet Burak Erdogan (36) The Erdogan first-born became a big figure few years ago in the seafreight business. He has the big shipping company Mecit Cetinkaya. Today Burak Erdogan is thought to hold 99 percent of MB-Shipping.

    His fortune is estimated at least 80 million dollars. Fairytales are told about how he got the money to get into the shipping business. Again and again questions are raised as to whether he is favored in government transactions. In Istanbul, 1998, the Erdogan oldest son ran over the singer Sevim Tanürek, who died of her injuries shortly afterwards in hospital. Erdogan Junior committed a hit and run - he had no driver's license. When the trial began the perpetrator had suddenly disappeared. He couldn't be there because of a language course in England, it was said. Later the traffic evaluator changed his mind and changed the report: It was Tanürek herself who was to blame for the accident. The evaluator was appointed shortly thereafter by Erdogan to high office in the state shipping company. Ahmet is now regarded as having gone underground. Even at family celebrations and weddings, he does not show up.

    ► The youngest son: Necmettin Bilal Erdogan (35) Again and again the Erdogan-son shows up in the media in connection with dubious and criminal activities.

    Corruption scandal 2013 

    The accusation: Bilal Erdogan obtained public land in downtown Istanbul for less than 500 million -- against its actual market value of one billion dollars. Supposedly Bilal paid a three million US dollar bribe. The judicial authorities have also implicated Bilal's Türgev Foundation, which is actually is no more than a network of private schools, in this regard. Allegedly the foundation received land through the intermediary of Erdogan's AKP party without paying for it. Bilal Erdogan was supposed to be indicted, even threatened with imprisonment. His father, then prime minister, had the prosecutor unceremoniously relieved from his duties.

    The opposition demanded the resignation of Erdogan as prime minister.
    This was prompted by alleged recordings of telephone conversations with Bilal, which appeared on the Internet. The calls took place mainly on 17 December, 2013. On the day dozens suspects from the ruling AKP party were arrested under suspicion of corruption.
    On the recordings allegedly Erdogan warned his son to remove the cash he kept in his house.
    "Put away everything that is in your house," the voice of the older caller says in a telephone conversation, the time is given as 8:02 in the morning. "Your money is safe," replies the younger voice. In another conversation, the time is given as 23:15, and the younger voice says that 30 million euros could be not "shed." Then asks: "Do you want some money left with you?" In a fifth and last call the older voice warns: "Son, you're bugged."

    Trading ISIS oil 
    The British newspaper The Guardian revealed last year that Turkish businessmen had concluded lucrative contracts with the ISIS terrorists: At least ten million dollars a week was flowing into the war chests of the killer militia - more than 500 million dollars a year. One of these businessmen was thought to be Bilal Erdogan. 

    Since September 2015, he has been living with his family in Bologna, Italy - officially to finish writing his doctoral dissertation. Since March the authorities there are investigating him on the subject of money laundering. The accusation: He is there to whitewash the family fortune, which comes from the corruption scandal.

    ► The oldest daughter Esra Erdogan (34)
    Esra Erdogan also was involved in the 2013 corruption scandal. She sits next to her brother on the board of the dubious Türgev Foundation. Her husband could be the new Turkish Prime Minister after Davutoglu's resignation. He is considered a prime candidate and a faithful companion of his father-in-law.

    Erdogan himself had arranged the marriage of his daughter with the political hopeful. 

    ► The youngest daughter: Sümeyye Erdogan (30) While the other children are barely interested in politics, Sümeye was already at age 25 appointed honorary consultant to her father - she accompanies him on trips abroad and acts as an interpreter for him. So far, her path to the Turkish Parliament is barred because wearing headscarves in the parliament is prohibited.

    Incidentally, the tuition fees for the Erdogan sprouts at US universities, which at times amounted to EUR 100 000 per year, were paid by the textile entrepreneurs Remzi Gür. An act of friendship, as stated on the part of the family. Speculation about any quid-pro-quo has occurred only behind closed doors.
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    Item Reviewed: The Erdogan family business Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Winter
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