The Turkish police launched, on 17 December 2013, a vast anti-corruption operation without informing the government. Unjustifiably large amounts of cash were found during the searches, in particular, at the homes of Egemen Bağış, minister of European Affairs, and Bilal Erdoğan, son of the prime minister. Moreover, the sons of Zafer Çağlayan (Minister of Finance), Erdoğan Bayraktar, (Minister of Environament and Urban Planning), and Muammer Güler (Minister of the Interior) were taken into custody.

The three ministers have resigned.

The investigation is related to the embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars, which were assertedly used to finance the secret war in Syria.

The Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, denounced an operation spearheaded by the Hizmet Movement of his former ally, Fethullah Gülen. He then proceeded to dismiss over a hundred police officers who supposedly had foreknowledge of the searches but who failed to warn him, as well as to remove Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş.

Three parliamentarians of the government’s Justice and Development Party have quit their jobs, to demonstrate their indignation in the face of the Erdoğan clan’s practices.

It would seem that the funds pilfered by close relatives of the Prime Minister were being managed by one of his personal friends, Yasin al-Qadi, who made clandestine visits to him, despite his name being on the United Nations list of people wanted for terrorism. Each time, Mr. A-Qadi arrived by private jet at an Istanbul airport where all the security cameras had been shut down, and where he was illegally picked up by the Prime Minister’s personal guards, without passing through customs.

Yasin al-Qadi is a Saudi banker, member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a close friend of Ossama Bin Laden. He admitted to having been behind the funding of Bin Laden’s Arab Legion in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1991-1995) and to financing the terrorist attacks against the U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya (1998). According to the FBI, Mr. Al-Qadi, then living in Chicago, was owner of the computer company Ptech, which supplied the United-States with the software used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to cope with the crisis of September 11th 2001.

Yasin Al-Qadi is also a personal friend of former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Yasin Al-Qadi was progressively removed from the terrorist list starting 2007 (in Switzerland). He was deleted from the UN list in October 2012. However, on 10 October 2013, Turkey’s Cabinet of Ministers promulgated a decree banning access to Turkish territory to a list of 349 people with ties with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, including Mr. Al-Qadi.

In June 2013, Yasin Al-Qadi was involved in a car accident in Istanbul, together with the Prime Minister’s Chief of Security, and was then hospitalized. Without delay, Bilal Erdoğan, son of the Prime Minister, called on him at the hospital.

41 arrest warrants have been put out by a Turkish court, including one against Yasin al-Qadi.

Alizée Ville