Muhammed Yakut, a formerly pro-government businessman with a long criminal record who made claims about figures close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist ruling party in videos he broadcast on YouTube, said Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had secret assets in the UK, that he had extramarital affairs and that he appointed a businessman who obtains women for him as an honorary consul.
In the fifth video he posted, Yakut, who quickly became a YouTube sensation in Turkey, claimed that Çavuşoğlu and businessmen close to Erdogan had secretly bought flats in the same building in London.
The apartment allegedly belonging to Çavuşoğlu is located at Camellia House in the Vista Chelsea Bridge luxury complex. It is 94 square meters, and its current value is 1,432,000 pounds. The unit was last sold for 1,388,668 pounds in June 2018. According to British real estate sites, it has gained 3 percent in value since then, and its value is still increasing.
The apartment is located in Chelsea, one of the most expensive and popular areas of London. Located in a central part of the city, the building faces a large park called Battersea and is very close to the famous River Thames, which runs through the middle of London.
Turhan Çömez, advisor to the chair of the opposition IYI (Good) Party and Erdogan’s former private secretary who lived in the UK for many years, confirmed Yakut’s story, saying he had obtained copies of property deeds for the apartments Yakut mentioned.
In another video published earlier, Yakut claimed that Çavuşoğlu facilitated businessman Metin Güneş, who does not speak a foreign language, becoming the honorary consul of Haiti in Istanbul. According to Yakut, Güneş is hiring women for ruling party elites, in particular Çavuşoğlu.
Yakut is likened to mafia boss Sedat Peker, who was once a close ally of President Erdogan and revealed scandalous information on corruption, weapons sent by the government to jihadists in Syria and ruling party relations with drug gangs in the videos he started to post on YouTube in 2021.
Promising to make revelations that he claimed would shock the country two months before the elections, Peker, who resides in Dubai, was prohibited from using social media by authorities in the UAE, with which Turkey has managed to repair relations.
Some claim that Peker put Yakut forward because he was unable to say anything himself. Yakut persistently denies this but admits that he has known Peker for a very long time.
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities blocked access to Yakut’s YouTube channel on Wednesday. Yakut opened a new account on YouTube and continued to post videos, stating that he was not afraid of anyone and announcing that he was in Germany.
This was not the first allegation of corruption made against Çavuşoğlu.
Public records reviewed previously by Nordic Monitor suggested further evidence of illegal activities engaged in by Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu, who was accused of being a secretly paid lobbyist for political interest groups in Ukraine while he was serving at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Although the Turkish minister denied any wrongdoing, his track record shows he had made inexplicable U-turns on his previously declared positions on political developments in Ukraine, which raises questions about his motives.
For one, Turkey’s top diplomat changed his opinion about Ukraine’s jailing of prominent opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which he previously had declared unacceptable, calling for her immediate release. On another occasion, he repeatedly expressed disagreement with critics who raised concerns about the legitimacy of the 2012 elections in Ukraine for which he was one of the election observers. A year later Çavuşoğlu was awarded the Order of the State of Ukraine for his services to the Ukrainian government.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a nonprofit media organization providing an investigative reporting platform, alleged on November 4, 2019 that some politicians and diplomats were secretly funded as part of a campaign claiming that Tymoshenko’s jailing should not prevent the country from signing an association agreement with the European Union, according to a number of leaked e-mails. Çavuşoğlu, who was president of PACE between January 2010 and January 2012, is one of the politicians who were allegedly bribed by a secret lobbying campaign orchestrated by US lobbyist and former president Donald Trump’s one-time presidential campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who served time in prison on fraud and tax charges but was pardoned by Trump in December 2020. Serhiy Lovochkin, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and today the leader of its largest opposition party, is believed to have been the source of Manafort’s funds.