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Mersin’s ‘Iron and Steel’ Exports to Israel Conceal a Sinister Truth: Did Erdogan Supply Ammunition to Israel?

I had mentioned it before, but it’s time to repeat it.

It was the days following the significant corruption and bribery operation on December 17, 2013. At that time, I was the Ankara Representative of Bugün Newspaper, and my path frequently intersected with politicians and high-level bureaucrats due to my job.

The scandal had erupted, and the entire Turkish public had listened to the muted resetting tapes between then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and his son Bilal. I was doing what every journalist should do, pursuing the scandal.

A businessman close to the AKP government was very uncomfortable with the news we were covering. He reacted to the mention of Reza Zarrab and millions of dollars flying in the air. I was explaining that an operation involving the Prime Minister, his family, popular artists, and the laundering of millions of dollars in black money, bribery – would be news everywhere in the world.

Taking a puff from his cigarette, my interlocutor said, “What you don’t understand is this: our base doesn’t care about these. Even if they see Erdogan on top of those unsolvable money issues, with a woman by his side, they wouldn’t make it a problem; they would somehow interpret it.” That businessman was proven right. Erdogan and his followers interpreted that scandal. Just as with numerous scandals that followed.

So why am I reminding this anecdote years later?

The subject is clear; the commercial activities of the Erdogan family with Israel. While the Israeli war cabinet, under the leadership of Netanyahu, was committing genocide in Gaza, Erdogan family’s ships were heading to Israeli ports. If you say, “What’s the big deal? They’ve been doing this for years!” you’re right. The commercial relations between the Erdogan family and Israel never stopped.

Even after the famous ‘One Minute’ incident.

Colleagues working in Ankara will remember. After the ‘One Minute’ incident in Davos, Erdogan had minimized relations with Israel. Even after the attack on the Mavi Marmara ship and the death of 10 civilians, he had said, “We are cutting off all our commercial and military ties with Israel.”

Tayyip Erdogan cut off Turkey’s relations with Israel, except for his son!

Because his son Burak, who was never seen around, had his famous Safran-1 ship in the port of Ashdod in Israel on the very day Erdogan made the announcement. The issue had come to the agenda of the Parliament at that time, and Emine Ülker Tarhan, the then CHP Group Deputy Chairman, had raised questions about Burak Erdogan’s ships.

Turkey-Israel relations followed a roller-coaster trajectory, but two things steadily grew; Erdogan family’s ships and commercial relations with Israel. The AKP base, which attacks those who drink coffee at Starbucks and stabs the poor working at Burger King for minimum wage, didn’t make a fuss about these ship transactions then and still doesn’t today.

Journalist Metin Cihan continues to expose the dirty relationships of the government and its supporters with documents. His latest revelation greatly angered the Palace.

Indeed, without mentioning a single word about Metin Cihan’s documented news, they made a statement saying, “We have filed a criminal complaint for the slanders against us.” However, Metin Cihan documented Burak Erdogan’s trade with Israel entirely from open sources.

According to Metin Cihan’s shares and the records he shared, the ship named “Halit Yıldırım,” owned by Burak Erdogan, was loading at the port of Ashdod on the day the hospital was bombed. The official records of the ship and companies are available in a chain at Cihan’s tweet address: link.

Million-dollar questions…

“If the Erdogan family’s relations with Israel had never been severed, they could have at least paused while Gaza was being bombed,” you might think if you are naive. As it is known, the skill of political Islamists in interpreting and making excuses is highly developed.

They have come up with an excuse for this too, spreading it through Aktrolls: the ports have been privatized, those trading with Israel are not the state but private companies, and the contracts of these companies started before Hamas’s attack, so they cannot be canceled.

One should ask these wise minds: are the Starbucks you target, stab employees, break windows, and hold sit-ins in, not private?

In short, while Erdogan, who makes the Rabia sign, shouts about Palestine and Gaza in rally squares, he continues to trade with Israel through family companies. He earns both votes and money.

However, there is a million-dollar question here: how much of the loads labeled ‘iron and steel products,’ leaving the port of Mersin, was ammunition? Was this ammunition used in Gaza? Who holds the records of this export in Ankara?

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Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Aslan is a leading Turkish investigative journalist in exile based in Washington, D.C.
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