Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is troubled by growing health problems and has initiated plans to groom his son, Necmettin Bilal Erdoğan, to succeed him, according to an analysis by investigative journalist Abdullah Bozkurt of the Nordic Monitor news website.
The analysis suggests that Erdoğan aims to create a family dynasty while dismantling democratic institutions, against the backdrop of a weak opposition and the amassing of vast family wealth estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Bozkurt claims that Bilal, though not holding any public office, is considered the most influential person in Turkey’s governance, alleging that he operates from the shadows, aided by his father’s repressive rule and an extensive network of cronies in key government positions.
Bozkurt’s analysis indicates that President Erdoğan’s recent key appointments and cabinet reshuffles point to the road markers for a potential family dynasty, hinting at a desire for long-lasting rule with 82 million citizens treated as subjects and the country’s assets as the family’s own wealth.
The report further states that Necmettin Bilal Erdoğan, who was nurtured in a religious school and educated in the US, is an ideological zealot devoted to the ideology of political Islam. He allegedly maintains close ties with religious sects and networks that support his father’s rule and political agenda. The analysis claims that he worked with an al-Qaeda financier and points to him being named a suspect in graft probes, saved only by his father’s intervention.
The analysis also raises concerns about the potential future direction of Turkey’s political landscape and its relationship with the international community, as Necmettin Bilal Erdoğan is seen as Turkey’s undeclared crown prince, and his father appears to rely on him for a smooth succession.
Bozkurt’s analysis suggests that Bilal Erdoğan plays a significant role in staffing key government positions through foundations like TÜGVA, which is based on political Islam and raises concerns about political Islam’s influence within the administration. The report further notes that TÜRGEV, another foundation overseen by Bilal, has faced corruption allegations and was at the center of a corruption investigation in 2013 that President Erdoğan intervened to protect.
The analysis claims that President Erdoğan has taken measures to remove influential figures within the Justica and Development Party (AKP) to pave the way for his son’s potential succession within the party, consolidating the Erdoğan family’s influence in Turkish politics. Recent appointments, such as İbrahim Kalın as head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), supports Bilal’s potential succession, Bozkurt contends.
According to the analysis, the Erdoğan family’s alleged wealth, acquired through illegal means, is managed by Bilal and that this is justified among religious circles as necessary for supporting global jihadist movements and Islamist regimes.