Istanbul, Oct 23 () - The son of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose name was embroiled in Turkey’s biggest graft probe in 2013, denied reports he fled to Italy in a televised interview on Oct. 22, saying he “didn’t teleport” to private broadcaster A Haber’s studios in Istanbul.
Erdoğan’s son, Bilal Erdoğan, joined a live TV show for the first time on Oct. 22 at A Haber, where he answered questions focused on his education and personal life.
When asked about previous reports by daily Cumhuriyet alleging he had “fled Turkey” and moved to Italy, he said his current presence in Istanbul invalidated the claims.
“As you can see, I am here. I wasn’t teleported here with a hologram” he said. “I guess this is a sufficient response. I am in my homeland and here is my only homeland” Erdoğan added.
He has refuted the claims previously as well, stating he only went to Italy to continue his PhD studies at the Bologna campus of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
“I have been researching the Turkish and Italian economies since 1950 and the income distribution of both countries. I am conducting my work alongside my thesis advisor, who is in Bologna. I will complete my dissertation in [one-and-a-half] to two years and then return to Turkey” he said.
Erdoğan was among the suspects accused of bribery and corruption in the December 2013 investigations, but charges against him and the other suspects were later dropped by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office in September 2014, citing a “lack of legal ground for prosecution.”
Meanwhile, Erdoğan’s mention of the hologram as a means of teleportation created a social media storm, as users began adding captions to video stills from the program.
President Erdoğan had used a hologram during a party meeting in the Aegean province of İzmir on Jan. 26, 2014, as 3-D holographic beams reflected the then-prime minister’s image as he addressed the audience.