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The Erdogan tapes

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters are denying that recordings of conversations between the prime minister and his son are authentic.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara June 25, 2013. Turkish anti-terrorism police detained 20 people in raids in the capital Ankara on Tuesday in connection with weeks of anti-government protests across the country, media reports said. The unrest began at the end of May when police used force against campaigners opposed to plans to redevelop a central Istanbul park. The protest spiralled int

After the evening of Feb. 24, Turkey will never be the same. Around 9:00 p.m., recordings of five telephone conversations appeared on YouTube alleged to be between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son, Bilal Erdogan. The conversations are said to have taken place Dec. 17 and 18. Was this the anticipated big bang expected to change the course of political developments in Turkey? Is there more to come?

We will have a wait a bit longer for the answer, but what is beyond question is that this is the most serious and damaging blow to Erdogan since the government corruption investigations became public in December. Whether it is a lethal blow remains to be seen. It might, however, have inflicted a fatal wound to the man who until recently was a larger-than-life Turkish political leader and an international statesman whose grip on power was presumably secure and would remain so for years to come, perhaps until the centennial of the Republic of Turkey, in 2023. Not anymore.

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