The German newspaper Bild has raised questions as to how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s children amassed their vast wealth, including one fortune worth tens of millions, when their father only earns some €50 thousand a year as head of state. “While their father [President Erdogan] earns some 50 thousand euro per year, his children bathe in luxury. Where does it come from? There is no official data on that account,” the newspaper states. The article then cites data published by Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, which stated that everyone in Erdogan’s family, including his younger daughter, appear to be into business, dealing in such spheres as cosmetics, instant foods, the shipping industry, and jewelry. The German newspaper notes that the net worth of one of Erdogan’s sons, Ahmet, amounts to some $80 million, with conflicting rumors concerning how he got this money. “A question is in order: does he get support from the [Turkish] government,” Bild writes. The paper adds that the President’s younger son, Bilal, often appears in media headlines “in connection with shady and criminal deals.” Indeed, Bilal Erdogan was recently tried in Italy over claims that his estate may be connected to a massive political corruption scandal involving Turkey’s ruling AKP party that broke in 2013, rocking the Turkish political establishment. He now lives in Italy, allegedly to finish his dissertation. Along with his sister, he is suspected of corruption and bribery.
Bild also took note of last year’s discoveries published by the British news outlet, The Guardian, which uncovered information indicating that Turkish businessmen are actively involved in various deals with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) terrorists, such as illegal oil smuggling. “One of them according to [The Guardian] data is Bilal Erdogan,” Bild points out. Meanwhile, the Turkish government might soon see one of Erdogan’s family members join their family at the helm. The current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is effectively stepping down from his position. Davutoglu had championed closer links with the EU and was in favor of introducing visa-free travel for Turks, which was a key part of a deal between Brussels and Ankara to reduce the amount of migrants reaching the EU from Turkish territory. Davutoglu is seen in Europe as the more liberal face of the government in Ankara, while Erdogan is often blamed for creating a powerful executive presidency that his critics slam as authoritarian. Bild cites opinions that “in Erdogan’s view, Davutoglu has too much influence in the country due to his role in negotiations with the EU and his criticism of the presidential system which Erdogan is building.” Erdogan has yet to appoint Davutoglu’s successor, but as the President will no doubt want his replacement to be more malleable, it is speculated that Erdogan’s son-in-law, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, might have what it takes. Albayrak’s appointment as the government’s leader would benefit the whole Erdogan family, especially Bilal, who has been accused of involvement in illegal oil smuggling in Syria and Iraq. Bild states that Albayrak might be “that firm part of the clan” that the Turkish head of state wants to see by his side.