Cost of a 15-minute meeting with PM Erdoğan is TL 500,000

The newspaper based its report on information from the second round recent major corruption investigations that were publicized on Dec. 25, 2013, only to be immediately stifled by the government.
However, Taraf also claimed that the information which prompted their story was solid, as it comes from surveillance footage obtained according to the instructions of the cases’ prosecutors and legitimate court orders.
According to the daily, the prosecutors found clear evidence of an exact price levied by the advisors to let businessmen have short meetings with Erdoğan. In one of the recorded phone conversations, an advisor was caught demanding TL 500,000 for a 15-minute head-to-head with the prime minister. The daily didn’t provide any further details about the identity of the businessman, which advisor asked for the money or when and for what purpose. It was also reported that these charges may have been applied without Erdoğan’s full knowledge.

Taraf’s story referred to the Dec. 25 investigation, which was stifled after the newly appointed İstanbul Police Chief refused to comply with the orders of a prosecutor. It was later revealed in a leaked recording that the police chief had been instructed by Interior Minister Efkan Ala to ignore and throw away the court order, which included serious corruption charges divided into 10 categories. A 2,500-page summary of proceedings about those implicated in the probe has been prepared by the prosecutor but has not yet been sent to Parliament, the daily said.

According to the information the daily obtained, three advisors are suspected of having received money from the businessmen in return for the meetings. Taraf said the prosecutors weren’t able to determine whether other advisors were also involved, owing to the halt of the investigation process.

It has recently been revealed that İ.K., an advisor of the prime minister, told a businessmen in a text message that his “file was approved [signed off by the prime minister]” and asked the businessman for TL 11,000 to help pay his daughter’s school fees.

The prosecutors also unearthed traces of these practices even among the advisors at certain line ministries. The recordings allegedly discovered that the chief advisor of a line ministry was also secretly working as an advisor to a leading energy company. The elder brother of this advisor, who is still employed by the ministry, has a special contract with the company to provide consultancy in return for TL 50,000 per month, the prosecutors claimed.


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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