ISTANBUL – One of Turkey’s opposition leaders, Deniz Baykal, wants a television debate on an alleged corruption scandal in which governing party AKP is involved. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not responding to the offer.
Erdogan hopes that the scandal will blow over, but in the meantime it has kept Turkish politics and media enthralled for weeks. Tension is still high because so far there is no evidence for the allegations against the AKP, while the rumour machine of media tycoon Aydin Dogan is still hard at work. Erdogan and Dogan are at daggers drawn now.
The row started with a court case in Germany brought against some board members of a Turkish-German aid organisation, Deniz Feneri (Light House), who were accused of unlawfully diverting donations for investment in property. In the meantime, a few board members have been sent to prison, after which Dogan’s newspapers have been speculating that the AKP also benefited from Deniz Feneri money. They managed to put the Prime Minister and his AKP on the defensive for the first time in six years, but never came up with any proof. Erdogan claims Dogan is trying to get back at the government because other branches of Dogan’s business empire were denied permits for major investments.