In its report, the Nordic Monitor cites reports from Turkey in recent months, which highlight that family members and Erdogan’s business and political associates have proceeded to buy real estate and obtain residence permits in other countries, including Greece, while transferring part of their assets. To the exterior. , especially in offshore company accounts, as part of an escape plan in case of an electoral defeat on May 14.
Some of the countries that are supposedly safe havens for Erdogan’s cronies who have enriched themselves through embezzlement, corruption and organized crime are Greece, Spain, Portugal and montenegrooffering residence permits to attract investors under the so-called Golden Visa or Golden Passport programs.
According to a report by Stockholm-exiled Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt on the Nordic Monitor website, some have already moved their relatives to USA and are trying to obtain residence permits, while others have made similar moves to Coldwhich is ruled by the Al Thani family, an ally of Erdogan.
To prevent this from happening, the Erdogan government reportedly imposed a secret travel ban on around 1,000 people who have been working closely with the regime for years.
Erdogan’s fear is that if all these people go abroad, they may come under pressure to reveal the “dirty” deals they were involved in, creating a problem for the Turkish president and the viability of his regime if he wins the election.
Greece and Portugal are the most attractive destinations for those who want to leave
In recent years, according to the report, many Erdogan supporters have taken advantage of Portugal’s Golden Visa program, which has put Turkey third among all countries whose citizens have applied for residence visas, after China and Brazil. Statistics show that 547 Turks obtained residence permits between 2012 and 2023 in Portugal alone. The figure does not include their relatives, who were automatically eligible for residence permits.
They did the same in Greece, where the Turks are following the Chinese in obtaining residence permits through investment projects under a similar Golden Visa program. It should be noted that between 2014 and 2022, 631 Turks became residents according to the Greek Ministry of Immigration and Asylum.
Although most of these countries have amended their laws and regulations to limit Golden Visa programs or made it more difficult for applicants to obtain them, efforts to obtain Turkey visas are reportedly continuing.
Who invested in other countries
According to the report, some of the people revealed to have invested in real estate in other countries are the Secretary of State. Mevlut Cavusogluwho reportedly has a luxury flat in Britain at Camellia House in the Vista Chelsea Bridge complex, valued at nearly £1.5m.
He too Hakan FidanThe head of Turkey’s MIT Intelligence Service, who fears he will be held accountable for the “dirty” work he has done for Erdogan if the government changes, reportedly sent his son Halit Fidan to the US to explore options for home.
The Fidan family is said to have made a fortune in Turkey through corruption, while Erdogan has mediated his run-ins with the law. Both father and son had been at the center of a terrorism investigation that began in 2011 in Istanbul by prosecutors and continued until February 2014, when Erdogan dropped the investigation, preventing the case from reaching the courts for trial. accusation and trial.
Still, the former prime minister Binali Yildirim and his sons Erkam and Bulent, Erdogan’s confidants, have many companies abroad, especially in Malta and the Netherlands, with an emphasis on the shipping industry through offshore companies. Two of these companies in Malta, Black Eagle Marine Co. and Black Eagle Marine Co. Limited. it closed in 2019 after being singled out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2017.
The family fleet is allegedly used to smuggle drugs from Latin America to Europe and the Middle East. Family members have billions of dollars in assets hidden abroad and reside in foreign countries, ready to leave Turkey if Erdogan loses the election.
Another person who has prepared his escape is Zehra Taskesenlioglou, a senior official in Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who obtained a residence permit abroad and moved part of her assets to Greece, where she bought real estate. Taskecenlioglu is alleged to have obtained millions of Turkish lira through a fraud involving Borsa Istanbul, the Turkish stock exchange, in collaboration with his brother, former Capital Markets Council (SPK) Chairman Ali Fuat, and Serkan Taranoglu. , former adviser to Erdogan. . The fraud was exposed last year by Sedat Peker, a mobster who worked with Erdogan in the past.
In August 2022, Unsal Ban, Taskecenlioglu’s ex-husband, was arrested while trying to escape to Greece by speedboat and released in February 2023. His escape from Turkey could expose Erdogan’s corrupt practices and detention was the only way to avoid for this to happen.
Finally, Erdogan-linked businessmen and politicians who have not yet obtained residency abroad are using tourist visas to get their families out of Turkey ahead of the elections and will decide whether to bring their families back to Turkey based on the results. electoral.
The opposition, however, vows to launch investigations into the Erdogan government’s corrupt practices and punish all those who conspired to steal state funds and taxpayers’ money through corrupt schemes.
Blacklist of 1000 people
It is not clear how much Erdogan’s efforts to prevent these people from fleeing abroad will help, since they are not few. Specifically, on the blacklist, the existence of which was partially confirmed last week by Mehmet Hakan Atilla, former deputy director of Halkbank, who was convicted and served a sentence in the US for violating US laws, specifically on sanctions against Iran, there are 1,000 people. .