Leaked recordings of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son allegedly discussing how to hide large sums of money are fake, the premier's office said, as the government grappled with a growing phonetapping scandal.
“The recordings... are the product of an immoral montage and completely untrue,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement late on Monday.
The phone conversations, posted on YouTube, allegedly reveal Erdogan asking his son to get rid of millions of euros (dollars) in cash from the son's house.
The recordings were allegedly made in December, after dozens of the premier’s allies were detained in a high-level corruption probe that has thrown up a major challenge to Erdogan’s 11 years in power ahead of key local elections in March.
The prime minister has blamed his ally-turned-rival, U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, for instigating the probe, accusing him of seeking to create “a parallel state” in Turkey.
In a sign of further tensions, the Turkish government on Monday said thousands of influential people, including the premier, cabinet ministers and journalists, had been wiretapped by Gulen supporters in the police and the judiciary.
“Those who created this dirty setup targeting the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey will be held accountable within the law,” Erdogan’s office added.