TODAY’S – AK Party founder alleged in shady boron sale to Iran

AK Party founder alleged in shady boron sale to IranFormer deputy Faruk Koca, who was also a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), has been implicated in shady boron trade with Iran, according to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily on Thursday.Cumhuriyet published content from a telephone recording within the scope of investigation of the Iran-backed terror organization Tawhid-Salam featuring Huseyin Avni YazIcIoIlu — a spy for Iran who was formerly the director of the Culture and Education Department of Ankaraand#39s Sincan Municipality — telling his interlocutor that Koca had enticed Eti Mine Works to sell boron to Iran.

According to YazIcIoIlu, Koca convinced Eti to go forward with the sale by name-dropping President-elect Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, saying ErdoIan approved of the move.In a separate telephone recording, one of Tawhid-Salamand#39s founders, HakkI Seluk IanlI, is heard telling an associate that controversial businessman Reza Zarrab would facilitate the transfer of payments for the boron from Iran to Turkey.

Zarrab — one of the top names implicated in a corruption scandal that went public on Dec. 17 — is alleged to have bribed Cabinet ministers in order to facilitate a gold-for-natural gas trade deal with Iran.

He famously claimed earlier this year in a televised interview that he was responsible for closing 15 percent of Turkeyand#39s current account deficit (CAD).ErdoIan claims that Tawhid-Salam does not exist, while former Istanbul Police Chief Ali Fuat YIlmazer has said the group has infiltrated the ranks of the government.

The group has been responsible for the murder of a number of prominent intellectuals and journalists in Turkey.Last month, Istanbul prosecutors opted to shut down the investigation into Tawhid-Salam and arrest dozens of police officers who were carrying it out, in what has been widely interpreted as a government cover-up.

Turkey holds the largest boron reserves of any country in the world, and supplied 47 percent of the worldand#39s boron needs last year, according to the Ministry of Energy. Turkey has 72.

8 percent of the worldand#39s boron and exports it to more than 70 different countries. It is used in the manufacturing of various industrial materials, rockets and nuclear reactors.

Turkey has hiked its production and export of the metallic element in recent years.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman