Turkish journalist Metin Cihan has claimed that a ship associated with Burak Erdoğan, son of the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, conducted trade with Israel amid ongoing hostilities in Gaza. This assertion surfaced while President Erdoğan publicly criticised Israel for bombing a hospital on 17 October. Cihan’s allegations, disseminated via social media, suggest a discrepancy between the Erdoğan family’s public stance and their private business activities.
🔴 Turkish President Erdoğan attempts to silence journalist who exposed trade links between Turkey and Israel, initiates lawsuit for charges of 'insult' and 'slander'.#Erdogan | #Gaza | #Israel | @metcihan
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) November 30, 2023
Cihan alleged that ships linked to members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as well as Great Unity Party (BBP) and Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR), were involved in shipments to Israel. This statement prompted reactions from various quarters, including supporters of President Erdoğan.
In response to these allegations, President Erdoğan and his family announced intentions to file a criminal complaint, citing these social media posts as false. The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office is requested to initiate a lawsuit against Metin Cihan for charges of ‘insult’ and ‘slander’.
The shipping company implicated in Cihan’s post responded to the allegations. They refuted claims of ownership by Burak Erdoğan and suggested that the agreement for shipment was made before the conflict escalated. However, Cihan remained steadfast, questioning why the company would respond on behalf of Burak Erdoğan’s firm if there were no connections. He pointed out discrepancies in the official records, such as the address and website details of Burak Erdoğan’s company aligning with those of the shipping company.
Cihan stood by his reporting, asserting that the facts are substantiated by public and official records, and cannot be refuted. He criticised the Erdoğan family’s approach, implying a double standard in their public condemnations of Israel and private business dealings.
Cihan also addressed rumours of a red notice from Interpol, clarifying that the Turkish National Police had dismissed these as a misunderstanding of routine correspondence. He emphasised the improbability of Interpol issuing a red notice for a journalist based on tweets.
Meanwhile, opposition Islamist party Felicity MP Hasan Bitmez brought these revelations to the forefront in the Turkish parliament on Wednesday. He raised questions about the Turkish government’s inconsistent stance, drawing attention to the discrepancies highlighted in Cihan’s investigative reporting.
Hamas and Israel, in an announcement made by the Qatari Foreign Ministry on Thursday, have agreed to extend the current humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip for an additional day. This extension, confirmed by ministry spokesperson Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari, ensures the continued cessation of military activities and allows for the uninterrupted entry of humanitarian aid into the region. Concurrently, efforts are being made towards establishing a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, highlighting ongoing diplomatic endeavors to stabilise the situation.