A Dictator Obsessed with Power and Wealth: Erdogan’s 12 Scandals

With each passing day, Turkish President Erdogan is becoming increasingly dictatorial. The arrest of 11 members of the opposition pro-Kurdish party, HDP, is the latest in a long string of Erdogan’s dictatorial policies.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan  (Photo: Nanore Barsoumian)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Nanore Barsoumian)

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a devastating exposé on Erdogan last week, listing some of his scandalous actions.

I have summarized Rubin’s lengthy article which was posted on Newsweek magazine’s European edition website, under the title, “Twelve Questions Turkish Journalists Dare Not Ask”:

  1. How did Erdogan become a billionaire?
  • Erdogan was raised in a poor family until he became Mayor of Istanbul when he faced 13 corruption probes. In 2004, when he was Prime Minister, the U.S. embassy in Ankara reported in a cable to Washington that “he had at least eight Swiss bank accounts.” In addition, secret phone recordings revealed his instructions “to liquidate perhaps a billion dollars in cash. Erdogan used his power over the courts to quash the case and arrest prosecutors and judges who sought to pursue it.”
  1. Where is Erdogan’s university diploma?
  • Erdogan claims to have graduated from Istanbul’s Marmara University in 1981. His degree may have been forged. “A four-year degree is a prerequisite for the presidency. If Erdogan lied about having a degree, can he remain as president?”
  1. Is there another story behind the coup attempt?
  • Erdogan fired and jailed thousands of his political opponents, accusing them of being the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of the July 15 coup attempt, which the Turkish President called “a gift from God.”
  1. If there is a FETO, is there also an ETO?
  • Erdogan called Gulen’s movement “the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO)… If it is permissible to talk about FETO as a terror group, would it be equally acceptable to refer to the Erdoganist Terror Organization (ETO)?”
  1. If Gulen is a terrorist, why did Erdogan work with him until 2013?
  • Gulen and Erdogan had practically identical religious philosophies until their split in 2013. Why is Gulen a “terrorist” now?
  1. Why is it OK to report on PKK attacks but not on ISIS?
  • “When the PKK or fringe Kurdish groups attack, it often dominates the headlines in Turkey for days as the investigation continues, authorities name suspects, etc… But when ISIS has attacked, the Turkish government has put an embargo on reports about the investigation.”
  1. Why did Turkish intelligence help the Nusra Front? And ISIS?
  • “Evidence is overwhelming that both the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and ISIS itself, have received arms, support and equipment from authorities in Turkey. When journalists broke the story — and provided photographic evidence — Erdogan’s response was to arrest the editor of the newspaper that published the scoop. Likewise, when Turkish soldiers stopped an arms shipment into Syria, Erdogan ordered the soldiers’ arrest rather than the smugglers….”
  1. Was a Turkish death squad behind the Paris assassinations?
  • “In 2013, assassins executed three Kurdish activists in their office in Paris. All three were PKK members…. The French captured Omer Guney, a 32-year-old Turk who had arrived in France at age 9. Telephone intercepts after the murders show him calling back to handlers in Turkey’s intelligence agency…”
  1. Why did Erdogan appoint his son-in-law oil minister?
  • “Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s 37-year-old son-in-law, became Turkey’s energy minister on November 24, 2015. Was he the best qualified? Or were other factors at play?”
  1. Can we talk about Erdogan’s associations?
  • Erdogan is a close friend of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman, who, according to the U.S. Treasury Department “had alleged ties to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden until 2014.” Erdogan persistently declared: “I know Mr. Qadi. I believe in him as I believe in myself. For Mr. Qadi to associate with a terrorist organization, or support one, is impossible.” Erdogan is also close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of Afghanistan who has “allied himself with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.” Another friend, Khalid Meshaal (the militant leader of Hamas), visited Turkey as Erdogan’s personal guest!
  1. What deal have you struck with Putin?
  • After Erdogan and Putin buried the hatchet earlier this year, they agreed on a pipeline deal and held talks on the Turkish purchase of a Russian missile system. Were there any secret agreements?
  1. What explains the court’s 2008 refusal to close the AKP?
  • In 2008, Turkey’s constitutional court came close to dissolving Erdogan’s ruling party. But, at the last-minute, one justice switched his vote. It is alleged that “a businessman, long hounded by Erdogan, wired money into that justice’s account just before the vote.”

During a Nov. 6 ceremony in Istanbul to receive an honorary doctorate, Erdogan proudly proclaimed: “I don’t care if they call me a dictator or whatever else. It goes in one ear, out the other!”

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. During a Nov. 6 ceremony in Istanbul to receive an honorary doctorate, Erdogan proudly proclaimed: “I don’t care if they call me a dictator or whatever else. It goes in one ear, out the other!” THAT’S BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING IN BETWEEN TO STOP IT.

  2. That’s megalomaniac pseudo-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first of his name, the pretender to the Ottoman throne to you sir.

    The man lost the plot years ago, absolute nutjob these days. It gets to a point where you can’t muster up the energy to be angry or indignant anymore. If the people keep electing a man that would rather see our country burn to the ground than give up his power, let it burn. If anyone people deserve a ruler like Erdogan it’s us.

    • RVDV:

      You of course know Turkey: I am just an outside observer.
      Nevertheless, this is how I see it:

      Erdogan is the leader, but he is just the embodiment of the evil that is AKP. Erdogan was elected popularly and democratically. AKP is full of people like him. Hitler, also elected democratically, was the charismatic leader of Nazi Party, but there were many, many Nazi leaders like him: it was the ideology, the belief system.

      AKP has a deep and wide base in the Turk electorate. Erdogan will be gone some day, but the Islamist vs (secular) Kemalist schism is here to stay.

      When the assassination of Erdogan failed, AKP followers came out in massive numbers. I was listening to an interview by an Armenian Turkologist a couple of weeks ago. He said this: in all previous coup attempts by the military, the Turk people still kept their _veneration_ for the Turkish military. That changed: the public humiliation of Turkish military was unprecedented. No need to recount here what Erdogan’s people did to the mutinous generals (!): this is a family-friendly web site.

      I will not lie to you: I am very happy that the future of Genocidal Turkey is a breakup.
      At least in two: Kurdistan and Turkistan.
      Hopefully more than two.
      Turks, who came from far, far away, have been an existential threat to my indigenous people for too long.

    • Avery:

      When you add AKP supporters and the far-right MHP supporters you have (just looking at numbers from past elections) well over 60% of the electorate. Any Turks or Turcophile’s in the west that thinks Turkey can “go back” to being a democracy (it was never that democratic, Islamists or not) are deluded.

      The military thing is… strange. You had people murdering and calling for the murder of soldiers the night of the coup and then like a week later those same people were supposedly paying their respects to the military since it did not really put its full weight behind the coup and it appeared to be just one faction.

      So, 1 bit of good news, several bits of good news:

      Good News — No more Gulenists
      Bad News — This has been used as a cover to purge anyone perceived as not loyal to AKP
      Bad News — Turkey has bigger problems than Gulen
      Bad News — President/Dictator Erdogan has 100% control over everyone and everything — even violating the constitution and arresting HDP MPs is something he can do without hesitation.

      Whether or not the future of Turkey is a breaking up, who knows. Who would’ve though we’d be here 10 years ago? What is clear is that IF that the future of Turkey is a break up it means that MY people – Kurds and Alevis – are the ones who will pay the price.

  3. We in USA hope to hell TRUMP WILL NOT SUPPORT THAT INSANE JERK We cant stand him and cant believe hes in MATO but our coutries government has gone to the dogs Trump is our only hope

  4. WHEN YOU ELECT A CLOWN YOU MUST EXPECT A CIRCUS and this is exactly what this tinpot dictator is doing to Turkey. the entire country is tattered torn and broken and he still says everything is under control. The man was a smitji selling buns in Istanbul with no qualifications whatsoever. He is a qualified terrorist, and thief who is also now a mass murderer negligent damages should be paid to all the innocent people who died in the earthquake damaged buildings that he allowed and he made money on. He must be hung like Menderes and made to pay heavily in the Hague for crimes against humanity.

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