Tayyip Erdogan anger over Italian probe into claim son laundered money

Rome and Ankara traded barbs over an Italian probe into claims that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan’s son Bilal laundered money.

Mr Erdogan told RAI television the investigation by prosecutors in the northern city of Bologna, where Bilal, 35, had been studying, might affect bilateral links.

“If my son came back to Italy at this moment, he could be arrested,” Mr Erdogan said in an interview with the state broadcaster.

“This could even cause problems for our relationship with Italy.”

Bilal went to Italy in 2015 to finish a doctorate. It was not clear when he left, but a legal source said he had been back in Turkey for some time. He denies wrongdoing.

Mr Erdogan, criticised in the West for the scale of a post-coup crackdown, told RAI: “Italy should be attending to the mafia, not my son.”

In response, Matteo Renzi, the prime minister, said Italy had an independent legal system and “judges answer to the Italian constitution and not the Turkish president”.

Turkish authorities have detained, suspended or placed under investigation more than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service, and education system since the failed July 15 bid to overthrow Mr Erdogan, in which more than 230 people were killed.

The investigation followed accusations by Murat Hakan Uzan, an exiled member of one of Turkey’s richest families and an opponent of the president, a legal source said.

Bilal’s lawyer said his client declared “all his economic and financial activity is totally transparent and legal, and the accusations are completely unfounded”.


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