AKP Leader Blames Israel for WikiLeaks, Erdogan Threatens to Resign if Claims Proven

On Dec. 1, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the claims made in the cables leaked by WikiLeaks—specifically that from then-U.S. Ambassador Eric Edelman that alleges the PM has eight Swiss bank accounts—reported Turkish sources. Erdogan, in what some describe as a “furious” rant, said the U.S. administration needed to take disciplinary action against those diplomats that “slandered” him.

“This is the United States’ problem, not ours… Those who have slandered us will be crushed under these claims, will be finished, and will disappear,” he was quoted as saying, adding that U.S. officials “pass on lies and incorrect interpretations.”

Erdogan then admonished the media for reporting on the WikiLeaks files, saying it was the duty of an “honorable” media outlet to “first ask the person these slanders are made against” about the claims. Reporters should first ask, for instance, “Esteemed prime minister, is this true?” If the accused denies the claims, the media should refrain from reporting them; otherwise, the reporting is “immoral.”

Meanwhile, during a press conference earlier in the week, the secretary general of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Suheyl Batum, reportedly said the leaked documents “are as important as the Watergate scandal for Turkey. We will certainly be following it. Although some are trying to gloss over the issues, we, as the CHP, will work to expose them as they are of crucial importance for Turkish democracy.” The CHP, according to Edelman, are a “bunch of elitist ankle-biters.”

In his comments made on Dec. 1, Erdogan called the opposition “opportunists” and “slanderers,” and added, “I do not have a penny in Swiss banks. If you prove it, I will immediately write a letter of resignation. But if the opposite turns out to be true, will you resign as well?”

According to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputy leader and spokesman, Huseyin Celik, Israel could be behind the leaked cables. “One has to look at which countries are pleased with these. Israel is very pleased. Israel has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents,” Celik was quoted as saying.

“Documents were released and they immediately said, ‘Israel will not suffer from this.’ How did they know that,” said Celik, adding that “Turkey, with its efficiency and foreign policy, has treaded on someone’s fields. The prime minister is known as a dominant leader not only in Turkey but also in the world.”

People on the Turkish street seem to take the WikiLeak files much less seriously, but believe it to be a U.S. ruse. Hurriyet Daily’s Erisa Dautaj Sernerdem interviewed strangers on the streets in Istanbul on Monday, and received varied responses—with calling it a U.S. “game” and reaction to the economic crisis, to an attempt to deter foreign investors from Turkey’s markets.

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2014 to 2016. She served as assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2010 to 2014. Her writings focus on human rights, politics, poverty, and environmental and gender issues. She has reported from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabagh, Javakhk and Turkey. She earned her B.A. degree in Political Science and English and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts (Boston).
Nanore Barsoumian

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  1. AKP is just trying to gain votes by slandering Israel. The majority of Eastern Turkey is village folks who are devout Muslims. These Easterners see Erdogan as a god who is standing up for Islam. He reall isn’t its all in his personal interests. Don’t believe his lies.

  2. Armenia will be worst off with the other Turkish leader. Erdogan was open to Armenia, so you all will have nothing

  3. It looks like most Armenians sit on the sidelines and see what’s good and what’s bad for Armenians, instead of having a plan and working towards a goal, showing some sign of responsibility for their own future.
    What a waste! and the nation suffers.

  4. Svetlana: well said and a keen observation of one of the main ‘diseases’ afflicting us, Armenians.
    We (almost always) only react to world events: we allow others – both friend and enemy – to set the agenda for us, because we don’t have a  far looking plan of our own.

  5. Yes and no, Avery.  We have a disjointed, heterogenous, dispersed community, in need of a network and/or forum from which to develop a far reaching plan of action.  We are an ancient people with an infant republic.  We are in a state of flux as we emerge from centuries of domination.  We don’t have the mechanism to act and think as one.  Let’s work on that. 

  6. It’s interesting how all of you love to comment negatively on things not relevant to Armenia (e.g. Erdogan, Turkish-Israeli relations). Being a Kemalist, I’m certainly no fan of Erdogan. But our relations with Israel will get back on track once again. For Armenians to try and destabalize Turkey and to interfere with her internal affairs is reprehensible. We know full well what you people have been up to for years! Try not to remain under the delusion that you’ll be able to “win over the Israeli people”. They will always remember who was the only nation and people that came to their need when every single country turned their backs on them, with certain ones murdering them outright (during WWI AND WWII)!  

  7. Robert,
    You have an over bright imagination.Who ever thought -amongst Armenians- that we would be praised or prized by Israel,must be a naive  Armenian. We respect them,that´s all. As to your conjectures  that we try to destabilize  your  country,again due to your imagination.You probably erred in writing Armenians instead  of Kurds.Latter  are known as destabilizers in Turkey and they says they number like close to 18/20 million. It is your problem to somehow  neutralize  them or whatever,not ours.
    We would not care a hoot if your relations with Israel  were normalized  or not. Thence ,you ought to think of better relations,not only with those  mentioned  but above all with Armenians whom you have devastated,massacred and EVICTED from ancestral lands.
    I was very glad though ,to hear Mr. Davoutoglu-at long  last-declare  after his recent visit  to China,  that  his ancestors  came  from Uyghur  Land,East  of China.Thus dismissing all previous make believes  that  your ancestors  were natives  in present Turkey….

  8. Robert,
    Gaytzag said it so well that there is almost nothing to add.

    And how exactly did Armenians affect your relationship with Israel? What did we do? How did we destabilize Turkey? Can you be specific? Direct your anger towards Erdogan. We have nothing to do with your problems with Israel.  

  9. For once I agree with Erdogan, Israel is behind this and that is obvious. Wikileaks was not good for Armenians either! They tried to blame us for giving weapons to kill Americans in Iraq.
    And by the way, we dont want to “win over Israelis”. Israel is guilty of genocide just like Turkey is.

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