Opposition head demonstrates corruption in granting of public tenders to gov’t linked firms

In a video released on social media on Jan. 26 night, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has shown, using a public tender from 2018, how public works are granted to government-linked holding companies for profit.

Duvar English

Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu released a video on social media on Jan. 26 in which he demonstrates, using documents, how the Turkish government uses public tenders to secure profit for its allies. 

According to the video, the public tender system was used to route 6 billion Turkish Liras in profit to a company closely tied to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In 2018, a tender was opened for a public project. Fifteen companies applies for the tender, the cost of which at the time was 3.2 billion Turkish Liras. One company won the tender, but the project was canceled.

Kılıçdaroğlu said that the cancellation of the tender at the time happened because the winning company was not one of the “gang of five,” the five holding companies closely linked to the government. 

In 2020, the project was re-tendered for 9.5 billion liras, nearly three times the original cost. This time, the project was immediately granted to a pro-government company. According to Kılıçdaroğlu’s video, this allowed the company to keep 6 billion liras in profit.

“Those who robbed the safe of the Treasury were not satisfied, they wanted even more money and had to approve it,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu in the video said that this corruption no longer comes as a surprise to anyone. 

“Their corruption is no longer news, even for the deaf sultan,” he said. 

However, he said he shared this news to demonstrate that there are still “patriots,” those loyal to Turkey, within the government. These “patriots” sent the opposition the documents demonstrating the corruption and continue to do so, he said. Kılıçdaroğlu previously called on bureaucrats working within the state to become opposition whistleblowers, and he raised this instance as an example of the call working.

“I called out to the bureaucrats because I needed to hear if their pulse was beating. The patriotic bureaucrats are still there. The patriots are resisting the illegality and criminal wishes of this courtier and his family,” he said.

He further insisted this was “just the beginning” of uncovering the corruption of the AKP.

He called for a “salute to those who resist,” and asked journalists to press the President on these matters. The opposition leader further said that this was just one of the hundreds of documents that showed money laundering, profiteering, and corruption in the state.

It later came out to light that the project Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to was the construction of the Bandırma-Osmaneli railway project, and the firm that had won the bid in 2020 was Kalyon Holding. 

The "gang of five" consist of Limak Holding, Cengiz Holding, Kolin Construction, Kalyon Construction, and MNG Holding.