Bozkurt discusses leaked official documents about investigations of Durmuş Eray Güçlüer, a prominent Erdoğan regime propagandist who was implicated 10 years ago in the July 1995 disappearance of Kurdish village chief Ahmet Yaman and later arrested for leaking classified military documents to an organized crime network. Both cases against Güçlüer were abruptly closed amid Erdoğan's massive purge of prosecutors and judges investigating government-sanctioned illegal activities.
Bozkurt discusses leaked documents pertaining to the 2010 detention of Yusuf Selami Çakaroğlu, an Islamist preacher in Turkey's Malatya province who today appears frequently on pro-government television networks. Çakaroğlu was arrested as part of a police crackdown on Tahşiyeciler, an al-Qaeda-linked radical group led by Mehmet Doğan (aka Mullah Muhammed). Although the probe revealed that Tahşiyeciler openly lionized Osama bin Laden, had sent close to 100 people to Afghanistan for arms training, and was planning armed attacks on Western targets in Turkey, Erdoğan helped engineer the 2015 acquittals of Çakaroğlu, Doğan, and others through loyalist judges and prosecutors.
A leaked wiretap transcript shows that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally coordinated nationwide protests in Turkey following the July 2013 ouster of Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. The August 16, 2013 phone conversation shows Erdoğan, then prime minister, telling Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman once listed as an al-Qaeda financier by the UN and the US, about the need to "stand by our brothers in Egypt" and discussing the role of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) in organizing nationwide funeral prayers for Egypt's "martyrs." Al-Qadi was using the phone of Mustafa Latif Topbaş, a corrupt businessman and family friend of Erdoğan then under investigation. When detention warrants for al-Qadi, Erdoğan's son Bilal, and other suspects in the case were issued four months later, Erdoğan put a stop to the investigation by removing the prosecutors and police chiefs leading it.
Nevzat Çiçek, the editor of Independent Türkçe, a Turkish affiliate of the British newspaper The Independent, is "a hard-core Islamist who adores the Iranian mullah regime ... and harbors ambitions of establishing a Shariah state in Turkey," writes Bozkurt, citing leaked transcripts of two 2013 wiretaps.
In 2013, Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman with links to al-Qaeda, and his nephew, Osama Qotb, were visiting Turkey when their car – driven by 31-year-old İbrahim Yıldız, Erdoğan's security officer – crashed into a guardrail. Apparently concerned about the legal and political fallout if al-Qadi's presence in Turkey as his guest was exposed, Erdoğan "ordered his trusted men to erase all traces of al-Qadi and Qotb from the paper trail in the accident report," which Bozkurt provides. However, leaked transcripts of wiretaps of both al-Qadi and Qotb, who were under investigation by the police's organized crime unit, confirm that they were in the car and spoke to Erdoğan himself after the accident.
A leaked wiretap transcript of a July 3, 2013 conversation between Erdoğan and Mehmet Fatih Saraç, a senior manager at the Turkish Ciner Media Group, provides a glimpse into how the Turkish regime manages the activities of privately owned media. Erdoğan called to complain about the TV station Habertürk's coverage of the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi earlier that day, especially its display of footage from Cairo's Tahrir Square, where many Egyptians were celebrating the coup, and the remarks of a guest commentator who took part in a debate program. Saraç said he would take care of Erdoğan's demands right away.
The Turkish government secretly ran surveillance on Greek nationals who visited a historic monastery on Turkey's Black Sea coastline, according to the testimony of a former intelligence officer. "Pontus activities are part of our mandate," said Muhittin Zenit in a leaked transcript of a June 20, 2016 hearing at an Istanbul criminal court, referring to Pontic Greeks (Pontus Rumları) who have lived in the area for over a millennium. "[T]our groups from Greece that visit the Sümela Monastery" are closely surveilled, said Zenit. The Erdoğan regime has long accused Greece of carrying out clandestine operations to revive "Pontianism" (Pontusçuluk) in Turkey.
The March 15, 2020 arrest of Azeri billionaire Mubariz Mansimov was the result of a falling out with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his allies, according to several sources. Mansimov, who owns the Istanbul-based Palmali Group, which has interests in the oil, shipping, maritime, and hospitality sectors, survived multiple criminal investigations between 2001 and 2013 due to his close ties to Erdoğan. His downfall was attributed by one source to a "turf war" with Erdoğan allies who coveted his assets. Erdoğan had also grown "increasingly paranoid" that Mansimov would flee the country and give testimony to U.S. investigators. Mansimov's name came up during the U.S. federal trial of Levon Termendzhyan (aka Lev Aslan Dermen), an Armenian organized crime figure who was convicted in February 2020 for a fraud scheme that involved Erdoğan allies.
Abdullah Bozkurt, a Middle East Forum Writing Fellow, is a Swedish-based investigative journalist and analyst who runs the Nordic Research and Monitoring Network and is chairman of the Stockholm Center for Freedom.