Telecommunications Directorate asks online news portal to remove article about Erdoğan family

January 31, 2014, Friday/ 22:18:00

The Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) has ordered an independent online news portal, T24, to remove a news article from its website about a parliamentary inquiry submitted by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Umut Oran on Friday into claims of alleged bribery and fraud involving the family of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Voice recordings circulating on social media -- allegedly of conversations between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his son Bilal, certain ministers and businessmen discussing bribery in the sale of the Turkuvaz Media Group -- were brought to the agenda of the Turkish Parliament on Friday.

CHP Deputy Chairman Umut Oran submitted a parliamentary question about the claims in the recordings.

The media is prohibited from running stories on allegations in a second corruption probe that has been stalled since Dec. 25, 2013, when the İstanbul Police Department refused to carry out a prosecutor's order to detain a new group of suspects. After the government's reshuffled the first chamber of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the HSYK removed all of the prosecutors that launched the investigation.

“Is your coordinator in the Sabah-ATV sale Binali Yıldırım? Did you assign Bilal Erdoğan to the process?” Oran asked Erdoğan. Binali Yıldırım is the former minister of transportation, maritime affairs and communications and is now running for İzmir mayor for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

The TİB, which previously blocked well-known journalist Mehmet Baransu's website for publishing photos and tapes about a major investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders and money laundering, asked the T24 to remove the story it published on its website.

The news portal has yet to comply with the call.