Leaks: Al-Qadi allegedly manipulating Turkish foreign policy on Egypt

The audio recording, reported by Today’s Zaman,  was uploaded by Twitter user “Başçalan” (Prime Thief) onto YouTube late Tuesday.
In it the alleged voice of al-Qadi tells someone on the line with a voice said to be that of Bilal Erdoğan in English to warn his father (the prime minister) about his intense public criticism of Saudi Arabia. Al-Qadi asks Bilal if he can possibly talk with his father for a short time and mentions that if time doesn’t allow, he would like for Bilal Erdoğan to give the prime minister a message — not to use harsh rhetoric against Saudi Arabia.
“Let him [Erdoğan] not fire on our people [Saudi Arabians] for the time being … not to speak hard [against] our people [Saudi Arabians],” a man, allegedly al-Qadi, says in English in the recording.

Erdoğan has been very critical of the military intervention in Egypt that ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi in early July of last year. He has criticized Western nations for not calling the military intervention “a coup.” Saudi Arabia backed the military intervention against Morsi.

Al-Qadi, according to the recording, said that he can provide Erdoğan with reasons for his request if he can meet with prime minister.

Erdoğan, after talking with al-Qadi, can be heard talking to Bilal and strongly criticizing a tweet critical of Saudi Arabia that was posted via a Twitter account close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). He asked his son who posted the tweet and demanded it be removed, as it could seriously harm his ties with Saudi elites.

Trying to find out who was behind the tweet criticizing Saudi Arabia on Egypt, Erdoğan asks his son many questions, and Bilal Erdoğan finally admits that he was the one who had posted it.

In the leaked recording, Erdoğan strongly reprimands his son for posting the tweet. “When I was talking to him [al-Qadi], I mentioned the issue without giving any names of countries. And you reveal it; you insult Saudi Arabia,” the voice allegedly belonging to Erdoğan said in the recording. He added, “We are searching for the enemy outside, but the enemy is inside. Do you think these guys [the Saudis] will trust us again? Hurry and remove the tweet.”

The recent recording also suggests that, after al-Qadi’s warning, Erdoğan backtracked on his anti-coup remarks and softened his tone on Egypt.

It was speculated on social media that the controversial tweet, which was deleted after a short time, was one in which the user Wakeupattack criticized Saudi Arabia for giving $5 billion to the new government in Egypt, which came to power after Morsi was removed through military intervention. Wakeupattack is thought of as a pro-AK Party account.

The Taraf daily reported in late December that al-Qadi has entered Turkey multiple times, escorted by Erdoğan’s protective detail, without a passport or visa, although his entry into the country was banned by a Cabinet decision.

According to daily Taraf, the Saudi businessman illegally entered Turkey four times between February 2012 and October 2012.

Amid allegations of Erdoğan having close relations with al-Qadi, the prime minister has said: “Al-Qadi is a Saudi businessman who loves Turkey and wants to invest in this country. He has no connection with al-Qaeda. He has been acquitted of all accusations made against him. Is it a crime to meet with this person who wants to make a huge amount of investment in Turkey?”

Erdoğan has been also quoted as saying: “I know al-Qadi. I believe in him as I believe in myself. For al-Qadi to associate with a terrorist organization, or support one, is impossible.”


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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