Celal Çelik, a lawyer for the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), submitted an expert report to a court on Monday confirming that 2013 phone conversations between then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son Bilal Erdoğan regarding a large-scale corruption investigation into members of the cabinet were not fabricated.
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s lawyer submitted the report to the İstanbul Anadolu 6th High Criminal Court in a case opened after President Erdoğan filed a lawsuit accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of slander.
The CHP leader had said Erdoğan allowed his cronies to benefit from government business, referring to the 2013 corruption cases, after which dozens of recordings of phone conversations of the then-prime minister with other parties surfaced.
Erdoğan has repeatedly denied the validity of the recordings, which imply a number of illegal activities, claiming they were fabricated.
He also accused alleged Gülen movement followers in the police force of carrying out the corruption investigations. The government later fired the police officers involved in the case.
Çelik on Monday said an expert had validated at least seven of the recordings.
“If we were living in Japan, Erdoğan would have committed harakiri,” he told reporters at the courthouse, referring to the ancient Japanese ritual of committing suicide to restore honor.
Çelik faces up to 40 years in prison on charges of insulting President Erdoğan, aiding a terrorist organization and disseminating terrorist propaganda.