Though Dec. 17, 2013, will go down in history as the day that a "grand corruption and bribery operation" targeting the government was launched, it was also the day that the conflict between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Gulen movement, a US-based faith organization, became an all-out war. In the 2½ months since, the damage inflicted on the AKP and its leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, can be simply summarized: loss of legitimacy. Had Erdogan and his government not blocked the investigating prosecutors — in breach of the constitution — the legitimate battlefield for the comprehensive accumulation of corruption and bribery files would have been the judicial process. Yet, since the government has barricaded the route to the judicial proceedings, evidentiary material based on voice recordings — which should have been cited in indictments — is being revealed through social media.
The turning point in this all-out war was the Feb. 24 appearance on YouTube of five separate telephone conversations from Dec. 17-18, purported to be between Erdogan and his son Bilal. These five conversations addressed the urgent transfer of huge amounts of money, which Bilal stored in his residence, from illegitimate sources. From the son’s words, we understand that the money belonged to his father. The amount of money in question is very large, with Bilal telling his father that he couldn’t find a place to stash 30 million euros. In the end, father and son agree to use the money to buy real estate. Erdogan claims that these recordings are fake, consisting of montages and dubbings.