Energy tenders allegedly scrapped for Erdoğan’s Bosphorus 360

Audio clips leaked by an individual under Twitter account Haramzadeler have provided new proof of embezzlement in several energy privatization deals upon the instructions of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to secure undeserved gains for Bosphorus 360, a company in which Erdoğan’s son Bilal allegedly holds a disguised partnership.

In several audio recordings Haramzadeler uploaded to YouTube, a voice purportedly of Bosphorus 360 General Manager Abdülkerim Çay is heard speaking to a Ministry of Energy bureaucrat named Murat over the phone.

The recordings, which are believed to have been wiretapped legally because they include a Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) ID number, allegedly revealed that the privatizations of several power plants were canceled and that the plants were sold to Bosphorus 360 under the pretext of “renovation.”

According to one of the clips, a meeting was held in a hotel in the Czech Republic to discuss the details concerning the transfer of these energy companies to Bosphorus 360, with a number of representatives of this company in attendance. Furthermore, bribes were given to Bosphorus 360 under the guise of consultancy commission. According to the allegations expressed in this audio recording, the attendees of this meeting contemplated about taking over control of eight thermal power plants. A decision to suspend the concluded privatization deals for five of them was made, according to the clip.

In another clip, Çay allegedly tells Murat that they want the Tunçbilek lignite power plant in Kütahya. He said they are following this closely and that this issue is the first “bend to negotiate for the [energy] minister.” Çay purportedly said if the minister fails to help them with this power plant, it would not go unnoticed. “Examining a minister” is surely not appropriate behavior, Çay said, adding, however, that this is the de facto situation.

In the recording, Murat is heard telling Çay that this situation must be brought up clearly and unreservedly in the meeting since the “gentleman” had flatly ordered them to “directly transfer this plant to this company.”

In yet another meeting, Murat tells Çay that some capital needs to be spared for the power plants in tow and that some steps need to be taken swiftly to conclude agreements with the companies that had previously won the tenders for these power plants. Murat advises Çay to explicitly tell the winning companies that they “will not do the job, but when we establish [our ownership of] the power plant, we will give you this other job.”

The latest recording on this issue was allegedly between Çay and Cengiz Aktürk, the on-paper shareholder of Bosphorus 360. The voice purportedly of Çay talks about the ministry’s suspension of the privatization tenders and that the ministry is waiting for the company to make some strides soon, else they may encounter public questioning over the reason for the cancelation of these tenders.

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