Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his salvos against the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen on April 22, claiming that the "parallel state" has recordings to blackmail the chief of general staff and the president, and even himself, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"They have tapes to blackmail people. They have tapes about the president and also about the chief of general staff. If you have one about me, reveal it. They have no honor. They could not find what they were looking for on me. They just released some of my phone conversations with my ministers or my wife, and my son. They will not be able to find anything."
Although the prime minister had earlier claimed that members of the "parallel structure" had wiretapped both him and the president, this is the first time that he has said Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel was also illegally eavesdropped on. He did not give any details of the recordings that could be used for blackmailing.
Vowing to do "whatever necessary" to clear the state of the "parallel structure gang," Erdogan said an important role fell on the shoulders of AKP lawmakers in this effort.
"You are representing the people. What did this 45.5 percent of the people tell you? 'We don't believe in the corruption accusations. We are waiting for a move from you: You must give the necessary punishments to these slanderers," he added.
'The people will elect the next president'
The prime minister also addressed the upcoming presidential election, saying that one of the most important goals for the AKP was to save the elections from political crisis, as was the case in the past.
"The presidency is not taken for granted by anybody. Whoever the candidates are, the people will have the say. Who will give the final decision? The people," Erdogan said.
"We will openly discuss the presidential elections with my president. The final word belongs to the people," he said, adding that his consultations inside the party would continue.