World

Turkish PM's office denies corruption tapes

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said Monday that recordings of alleged wiretapped conversations between the Turkish leader and his son — leaked onto the Internet and suggesting corruption — were fabricated.

In recent weeks, several voice recordings of conversations allegedly involving Erdogan, his children, aides or businessmen have been circulating on the Internet. In the latest recordings leaked on Monday, two people alleged to be Erdogan and his son are heard discussing means of getting rid of large amounts of cash from their home. The conversations allegedly took place Dec. 17, the day that sons of three Cabinet ministers were detained as part of a vast corruption probe.

Media reports said Erdogan met with Turkey's intelligence chief soon after that tape began to circulate on the Internet and that his office later issued a statement saying that the recordings were "immorally" fabricated and "totally unreal." It said the prime minister would take legal action against the recordings.

Turkey's main opposition party held an emergency meeting to discuss the latest leaked recording and called on Erdogan to resign, insisting that his government had lost its legitimacy. Erdogan insists that the corruption probe which forced him in December to dismiss four Cabinet ministers is a conspiracy to discredit his government before local elections in March and a presidential election in August. He says the investigations were orchestrated by followers of a moderate Islamic movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who have allegedly infiltrated Turkey's police and judiciary.

Last month, the leader's 33 year-old son, Bilal Erdogan, was questioned by prosecutors investigating the allegations.

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