The BMZ Group, a company run by Bilal Erdoğan, the son of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has purchased a $35 million oil tanker, according to Turkish news sources on Tuesday.
Various reports claim that the BMZ Group purchased the oil tanker — named Mecid Aslanov — from Palmali Denizcilik on June 24.
The tanker was one of 10 ships recently delivered to the Türkter Shipyard in İstanbul’s Tuzla district by Palmali Denizcilik.
Prime Minister Erdoğan has come under fire recently for his harsh criticism of Israel in light of its ground attack on Gaza, which opposition party leaders have deemed hypocritical as Erdoğan’s other son Burak is known for business dealings with that country. The trade volume between the countries had quadrupled between 2002, the year Erdoğan came to power, and 2013.
The Sözcü daily reported earlier this month that Burak Erdoğan, who owns a fleet of ships, currently had a vessel anchored in Israel. The daily said that Erdoğan’s Safran 1 ship was anchored in Israel’s Port of Ashdod. According to Sözcü, one of Burak Erdoğan’s ships was transporting American goods to Egypt even after relations between Turkey and Egypt deteriorated. Erdoğan’s ship G. İnebolu has also continued to transport goods from Russia to a Syrian port, despite the prime minister’s falling out with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Last month, a shipment of oil from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) arrived in the Israeli Port of Ashkelon; however, the KRG denied that the shipment had been directly or indirectly sold to Israel. The shipment in question was funneled through Turkey’s Ceyhan pipeline.
Leaked tapes surfaced earlier this year featuring voices ostensibly belonging to Bilal Erdoğan and his father, who is heard instructing his son to “zero” millions of dollars in cash hidden in various relatives’ homes on the same day that major corruption allegations targeting ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) politicians surfaced.