Erdoğan’s son-in-law rents drones to gov't for 1.2 million liras a day

Despite the ruling AKP’s denial of growing nepotism in procurement contracts, it has come out to light that the government has recently paid 1.2 million Turkish Liras a day for five drones rented from Baykar, a company co-owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law Selçuk Bayraktar.

This file photo shows Erdoğan (C) and Baykar's CTO Selçuk Bayraktar (R).

Duvar English

It has come out to light that Turkey’s General Directorate of Forestry has recently rented five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or commonly known as drones) from the company Baykar, which is co-run by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law Selçuk Bayraktar, at a cost of 1.2 million liras a day. 

This discovery came in the face of reports that the government “has been favoring the company Baykar without holding tenders and causing public loss.”

President Erdoğan denied these reports early in May by saying, “I have supposedly given them (Baykar) credits. There is not a single dime that has been given to Bayraktar group by Tayyip Erdoğan or the (ruling Justice and Development Party) AKP government.”  

Despite these remarks, it came out to light that the General Directorate of Forestry held two separate tenders to rents six UAVs in April. The total cost of the two tenders was 287.6 million liras, according to reporting by Halk TV. 

Five of the UAVs were rented from Baykar at 183.6 million liras, whereas the last one from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ) at 99.2 million liras, all to be placed at airports throughout Turkey.

The six UAVs are giving service between June 1 and Oct. 31 for a total of 152 days.

Baykar's CEO Haluk Bayraktar defended his company's deals with the government, saying that the tender in question was conducted in a "transparent and open way." 

He said that his company offered the lowest price at the tender held by the Directorate of Forestry, which is why he said the deal was granted to them. 

"Every citizen can access this information. The rental of the Bayraktar TB2 (drone) is at least six times cheaper than similar flight/hour rentals in the world. And it (the price) is about one-third of its substitutes in the country." 

He also said that his company's drones are being actively used to determine and intervene in forest fires.