The first leaked telephone recording documents (link to recording) the orders PM Erdoğan gives to Habertürk in relation to President Abdullah Gül and leader of the opposition MHP (Nationalist Movement Party), Devlet Bahçeli.
On June 4, 2013, Devlet Bahçeli met with President Gül. After the meeting, he gave a statement to the press. Habertürk published a news ticker from the speech that reads, “D. Bahçeli invites Gül to assume responsibility in terms of the Gezi incident”. In response, Erdoğan gives the directive to remove the ticker and cut the feed.
Conversation 1. (TAPE ID 2135802586) Date: 04.06.2013 / Time: 11.31
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Deputy Chairman of Ciner Media (owner of Haberturk TV)
PM Erdoğan: Prime Minister Erdoğan
PM Erdoğan: These guys are unbelievable. One has to call them one by one… (before Saraç answers the phone)
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Hello?
PM: Fatih look, I’m in Morocco watching the television and Bahçeli’s entire speech is being transmitted in the news ticker at the bottom of the screen.
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: I understand sir. Ok.
PM: And the caption says “the President’s primary duty is not to arrange meetings but to remedy the situation outside of these meetings. It is to use these meetings as a stepping stone towards a peaceful solution.”
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Ok sir.
PM: So, Bahçeli made this statement and your channel is constantly reporting this statement in the news ticker at the bottom of the screen.
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Ok sir, I understand sir. Right away.
PM: You always say ‘I understand’ but its unbelievable, there is no need for this
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Umm ok, umm, I’m at your order. Everything is clear now.
PM: You need to immediately.. do it
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: I’m doing it right away sir.
After the reprimand, Fatih Saraç calls an employee of Habertürk by the name of Abdullah and asks him to intervene in the live feed.
Conversation 2: (TAPE ID 2135805374)
Fatih Saraç: Abdullah, can you please urgently remove the news on Bahçeli and the news ticker that we are broadcasting.
Abdullah: Ok I’ve removed it
Fatih Saraç: Do what you have to do but do it immediately
Abdullah: Its been removed, its removed
Fatih Saraç: Hmm
Abdullah: We’ve removed it, you mean the current one right?
Fatih Saraç: Yes, remove it immediately.
Abdullah: Its removed, there’s only the sliding news at the bottom of the screen
Fatih Saraç: Remove the sliding news at the bottom as well immediately please, just forget it, remove it.
Conversation 3: (TAPE ID: 2135807189)
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: PM called me. He told me that we are broadcasting the statement ‘the president’s duty is to intervene’.
Kenan: Yes boss
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: He told me that he was in Morocco, that I was tiring him.
Kenan: Brother what can we do. How shall we do the last minute broadcasts? When Bahçeli makes a statement, we publish it.
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: He says he’s watching from Morocco, lets remove this story and ease the atmosphere.
Conversation 4: (TAPE ID: 2135823098)
Abdullah: Yes Mr. Fatih?
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Did you sort it out Abdullah?
Abdullah: We removed both the image and the sliding news ticker. He (Bahçeli) has more moderate statements, we are about to enter those.
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Who overlooked this?
Abdullah: No one overlooked anything…
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: What did the man say? (referring to Bahçeli)
Abdullah: He said ‘the President should take steps to create the grounds for a peaceful solution’. We entered this statement exactly as it is. We didn’t broadcast it like the other channels…
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: OK thats true. But there are also statements along the lines of ‘I have power to prevent this issue. If the government can’t do it, I won’t let them do it. (implying this sentence would be better suited for publication)
Abdullah: No that sentence is after ‘The Nationalists will not go out on the street’.
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: Oh ok. So: ‘The Nationalists will not go out on the street. We will not help them inadvertently’. Full stop
Abdullah: Ok brother
Mehmet Fatih Saraç: In that sentence, there is a call for calmness towards the Nationalists. But in the other sentence, the PM doesn’t want to share his authority and power with anyone else. Ok?