[email protected]

December 27, 2013, Friday

Yasin al-Qadi and the Erdoğan family

A prosecutor in İstanbul has launched an investigation into allegations of corruption in İstanbul.

However, the government intervened and stopped the process, took the files from the prosecutor and tried to close the case.

I have never seen the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government so panicked about any investigation. The way it acts shows that very fishy things are going on behind the curtains.

What could make the AKP government this panicked? Could it be a regular case of corruption or maybe something else?

Given that Turkish political history is in a way a history of corruption, I would think that a regular case of corruption would not push government officials into a panic to stop the investigation.

I think the prosecutor touched a very sensitive nerve of the AKP government that puts AKP officials in a very difficult position in the international arena -- namely, their relations with al-Qaeda affiliates Yasin al-Qadi and Usama Qutb.

Readers of this column may recall that I wrote a piece about them and questioned how Turkey became a center of illegal activities. In that piece I questioned Iran's money laundering network, and al-Qaeda activities in Turkey.

Qadi was one of the figures whose close relations with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan I pointed out.

Saudi billionaire Qadi is a well-known figure within the security bureaucracy of the West. Right after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the EU as well as many other countries froze the Saudi billionaire's assets. In recent years, the EU and many Western counties have unfrozen his financial assets; however, security services still suspect him of having links to al-Qaeda networks.

Last June Mr. Qadi and his close associate Qutb were involved in a traffic accident in İstanbul and taken to a hospital. When they had the traffic accident, the prime minister's chief of security was with them in the same car. More importantly, the prime minister's son, Bilal Erdoğan, was the first person to visit them in the hospital and “cleaned” the hospital records of the fact that they had had an accident while the prime minister's chief of security was with them.

Even the pro-government Star daily confirmed an allegation that Qadi had met with the MİT chief. After the meeting, they returned to İstanbul and were involved in the traffic accident while Prime Minister Erdoğan's chief of security, İbrahim Yıldız, was with them in the car.

In that piece, I questioned Mr. Qadi's relations with the prime minister and MİT and stressed the following: “Mr. Qadi may or may not have any relations with any illegal network; that is not important. What is important is that all of these examples create a fuzzy picture for the international community as to whether Turkey has become a center of a range of illegal activities, from nuclear smuggling to money laundering and helping terrorists.” (Today's Zaman, Sept. 29)

The details of the investigation have been revealed to the media. Mr. Qadi and Mr. Qutb are two key figures the prosecutor had asked the police to arrest; however, the police refused to comply with the order perhaps because Ankara did not want them to listen to what the prosecutor had ordered.

It seems that the prosecutor had gotten a hold of evidence that made AKP officials so panicked that they blocked the whole investigation process and created a political crisis that has deeply affected the economy.

What is so critical about Mr. Qadi and Mr. Qutb that would cause Erdoğan to practically shut down the government and stop the investigation?

I don't know if we will ever learn the real reason. However, I would surmise that Mr. Qadi's relations with the Erdoğan family are much closer than anyone has expected…

Previous articles of the columnist