In response to the opposition billboards appearing all over the country that asked a straightforward question: "Where is the 128 billion?" the Erdoğan government responded and asked their appointed prosecutors to take action. And action they took. The billboards and those who put them up are now being charged with "Insulting the president."
Everybody thought something was wrong when the Minister of Treasury Berat Albayrak resigned with a tweet message in Turkey.
Until the very last minute, the Turkish government and the president praised the young economist as a genius who performed miracles to create an economic phenomenon, envy for the world.
It should be noted that Berat Albayrak is president Erdoğan’s son-in-law. And his achievements never were even close to being a success.
When the Turkish Lira went down with a nosedive against the world currencies and the prices of literally everything went through the roof, he smirked at the people, “Why are you concerned? You don’t get paid in dollars, do you?”
What was strange about this resignation was that the Turkish Minister of Treasury disappeared, literally. No one has seen him or heard from him since the November 8, 2020 tweet.
Trying to understand this disappearing act, journalists started investigating his whereabouts. They didn’t get much information. However, everybody who tried tracing the national son-in-law was coming face-to-face with a related and scary case: 128,000,000,000 dollars had also disappeared from the treasury!
While scratching their heads on the mystery, the now ex-Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak closed his Twitter and Instagram accounts to go underground further.
As conspiracy theories emerged that Albayrak was in a house arrest by the orders of his President father-in-law, or that he was banned by the same even to be seen by the media, the search turned towards the missing 128 Billion US dollars from the treasury.
The Turkish government first ignored the questions, hoping it would go away by time.
However, 128 billion missing dollars is hard to forget when the country is in an economic catastrophe in the hands of the all-powerful one-man Erdoğan. In Turkey, increasingly, more people commit suicide when they can’t pay their bills. The ordinary people saw their taxes increase in Turkey while the taxes worth hundreds of millions of dollars are forgiven to the few but huge businesses close to Erdoğan.
On February 22, Erdoğan gave up and tried explaining the deficit. He said, “On the contrary, our foreign exchange reserves have increased to 132 billion dollars. But then, there was a fall to 95 billion. This is not an issue. We will rise back to 132, even to 200 billion dollars.”
However, before this statement’s impact settled, he gave another speech and directly contradicted his explanation again. In that speech, Erdoğan attempted to disclose where the missing money went. He claimed that the money was used to protect the Turkish citizens against the COVID-19 virus. In his talk aimed against the opposition, Erdoğan was observably angry on February 22, 2021. He claimed the opposition was a pure fascist party. He claimed that when it snowed in the cities controlled by the opposition, the incidents of rape, theft increased. However, his real anger was directed at the opposition’s insistent questioning of where the missing 128 billion US dollars were. “There are those,” he said, “Who wanted to use the pandemic as an excuse to create a financial fluctuation while the government was trying to avoid the economic traps. The reserve funds were used to combat these agents.
While experts were trying to piece together how that much money could have been used for pandemic defense, and nobody had seen any results or even efforts to back this expenditure, on March 10, Erdoğan once again felt the need to explain the loss. While talking to his AKP party’s group in the National Assembly, he complained of the opposition’s incessant tweets about the problem. He said, “All they talk about is the son-in-law. They sleep, they get up, they only talk about the son-in-law. May a boulder as big as the son-in-law fall on your heads! Has anybody seen any developments that Berat Albayrak has demonstrated? They keep asking, where is the money! That money is in the vaults of the Central Bank. There is nothing missing. If there is a loss, it is on you. We found we have foreign exchange reserves of 135 billion dollars. And we have recovered all our reserves.
Since March and three contradicting explanations, the issue showed sustainability to stay on the country’s agenda. There was one way to stop the talk on the missing billions, which was the AKP way.
In response to the opposition billboards appearing all over the country that asked a straightforward question: “Where is the 128 billion?” the Erdoğan government responded and asked their appointed prosecutors to take action. And action they took. The billboards and those who put them up are now being charged with “Insulting the president.”
It is common for the government to accuse, even children on social media, every criticism of Erdoğan with “insulting the president” and send them to prison. However, when the billboards don’t even mention the president, his name, his son-in-law, or even the government, it will be an interesting trial to pin the insult charge. The only link the prosecutors will use is the faint picture of the Central Bank and the 1100 room palace Erdoğan built and is residing currently.
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