Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in cryptic remarks on Tuesday that they know what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak does in Iraq but are keeping it quiet because it is not currently among the issues that Turkey is debating.
“We are keeping quiet for now because it is not on Turkey’s agenda, but I will talk about it when the time is right,” said Kılıçdaroğlu, in apparent reference to Albayrak’s alleged relations in northern Iraq involving the transportation of oil from the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to Turkey.
In October, leaked emails belonging to Albayrak showed that he is in the position of making important decisions on behalf of Powertrans, an oil company with alleged ties to ISIL that transports oil from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
Albayrak’s leaked emails indicate that he was asked his views on Powertrans’ organizational structure, personnel lists and employee salaries. In one of the emails in 2012, Albayrak was informed about expenses for food for employees of Powertrans and asked for suggestions on employee recruitment and their salaries.
In November of last year, following the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets near the Syrian border, Russia accused Erdoğan of running a “family business” after his son-in-law was linked to smuggling ISIL oil.
CHP deputy Eren Erdem also claimed that “there is a very high probability” that Albayrak is linked to the supply of oil from the terrorist group.
While Albayrak, who married Erdoğan’s daughter Esra in 2004, denied the claims, Russia’s deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov, said: “No one in the West has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president’s son heads one of the biggest energy companies or that his son-in-law has been appointed energy minister. What a marvelous family business!”
Moscow has also published satellite images which it claims show trucks carrying ISIL oil entering Turkey. However, there is no hard evidence that this is directly linked to the president or his family.
The Hürriyet daily’s Washington representative Tolga Tanış also claimed in his book, “Potus ve Beyefendi,” published in 2011, that Albayrak is one of the partners of Powertrans. Tanış also wrote that Powertrans undertook the work of transferring Kurdish oil from northern Iraq to Turkey in 2011.
Until he was elected to Parliament from Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Albayrak was the chief executive of Çalık Holding, a government-friendly conglomerate with interests in energy and oil.
Albayrak’s email accounts were seized by Turkish Marxist hacker group RedHack and began to disclose the contents on Sept. 26 after its demand for the release of two socialist writers who are currently in jail was ignored by authorities.