President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son, Bilal, has denied allegations swirling on social media circles and some opponent media groups saying that he fled to Italy. Bilal Erdoğan said that he is temporarily there to complete his PhD.
Bilal Erdoğan, who does not hold an official post in Turkey nor bounded by any obligatory duty or punishment that requires him to be present in the country, had to make a statement regarding his whereabouts due to unfounded claims.
In a statement made to the official Anadolu Agency, Erdoğan stated that he is continuing a PhD in international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
"Johns Hopkins is based in Washington, but it is a university that operates in China and Italy. It is one of the most important universities in the world in its field. I started my PhD in Washington, but since 2009 I continued in Italy due to its closeness to Turkey. However, I took some time off in 2012 due to health problems. I returned to Italy in the fall semester of this year to complete my education. I am studying the economics of Turkey and Italy after the 1950's and the distribution of income in these two countries. I will continue my research with my thesis advisor, who is in Bologna," said Erdoğan.
"I will complete my thesis in one-and-a-half or two years and will return to Turkey. I arrived in Italy on August 30 and started studying. I was in Turkey 10 days ago for the Eid el-Adha. Hopefully, I will visit my country when I find a chance during this period," Erdoğan added.
About the accusations of fleeing to Italy, Erdoğan stated that his lawyer is getting prepared to file lawsuits regarding the allegations.
"I do not follow what is written about me in the media or social media and I also do not care about either of them, because, when I look at the news about me, I see how people can become cruel on an issue and a person they never met, and I feel sorry for them. I am in Italy just for my doctorate. I will come to my country whenever I find time. After finishing my doctorate, I will return to my country and live there until my last breath," Erdoğan said.