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Erdoğan caused $460 mn loss to state by awarding tender to pro-gov’t firm: opposition leader

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan caused the state to sustain a financial loss of $460 million by awarding a TL 9.449 billion ($695 million) tender to a pro-government holding back in 2020.

Kılıçdaroğlu, who said in late 2021 that his party was receiving numerous files revealing alleged corruption by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and that he would share them with the public at the appropriate time, on Wednesday tweeted a video accusing Erdoğan of causing a loss of $460 million to the state.

According to Kılıçdaroğlu, a tender held by the government in April 2018 was participated in by 15 companies, and one of them won with a bid of TL 3.198 billion ($235 million).

“But the tender wasn’t awarded to the winning company because it wasn’t one of the gang of five,” the CHP leader said, referring to the five businessmen and their companies who have won nearly all the large tenders during the time in the office of President Erdoğan.

Cengiz Holding Chair Mehmet Cengiz, Limak Holding CEO Nihat Özdemir, MNG Holding Chairman Mehmet Nazif Günal, Kolin Construction CEO Naci Koloğlu and Kalyon Construction Chair Cemal Kalyoncu comprise the so-called gang of five.

“The same tender was held again. This time, the same contract was awarded to [one of the] gang of five for TL 9.449 billion ($695 million) on August 21, 2020,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding: “Do you understand the reason why [Erdoğan] signed [the contract this time]? It’s because of the [more than] TL 6 billion [price] difference.”

Also showing the documentation for the tender in the video, Kılıçdaroğlu said his purpose wasn’t to talk about Erdoğan and his family’s involvement in yet another act of corruption, since it wasn’t news to anyone, but to underline that there were still “patriotic bureaucrats” in the government who resist AKP pressure to comply with its unlawful demands and continue sending him hundreds of documents exposing those unlawful actions.

Following Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims, journalist Ozan Gündoğdu explained on Twitter, referring to a news report by the Birgün daily on Oct. 6, that the tender the CHP leader was talking about was for the Bursa Osmaneli High Standard Railway Project, awarded to Kalyon Construction.

Gündoğdu also said Kalyon Construction was granted a tax exemption for the amount it was awarded for the project.

Journalist Metin Cihan also commented on the allegations, saying in a series of tweets that the project was awarded to Kalyon Construction through a negotiated tendering method and that the price difference between the first and the second tenders was Erdoğan’s brokerage commission.

According to Article 21 of Public Procurement Law No 4734, a negotiated procedure in tendering, which refers to a method where no announcements are made for the tender and only three bidders are invited, may be applied if it’s “inevitable” to conduct the tender procedures immediately, due to unexpected and unforeseen events such as natural disasters and epidemics or occurrence of specific events relating to defense and security.

Turkey was shaken in late 2013 by two corruption investigations that implicated the family members of four cabinet ministers as well as the children of the then-prime minister and current President Erdoğan.

As part of the first investigation, the sons of three then-ministers from the AKP were detained on Dec. 17, 2013. A week later another investigation reached Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan. The Dec. 17-25 investigations led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, to which Erdoğan responded by claiming that the corruption scandal was fabricated by sympathizers of the Gülen movement within the police department with the aim of overthrowing his government.

Since then, hundreds of police officers and members of the judiciary have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigations.

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