Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said late Tuesday that in case of a possible assassination attack against Erdoğan, Israel would be the primary suspect in mind in the eyes of the public. "A news report was published on an American website that said Israel would be sending assassins and carry out an attack against the president. I say this, the public is talking about this. If the president is harmed even a bit, Israel would be the natural suspect," Albayrak said.
Albayrak's comments came after the U.S.-based website Veterans Today claims that a coup is being planned with Erdoğan as the main target. "A coup is in the planning to begin with the killing of Erdogan. Israel is planning it; we get it from everywhere, particularly our contacts in the Turkish Army," said the report, written by Gordon Duff and published on May 15.
The controversial report came ahead of Erdoğan's visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Turkish intelligence had also received a notice about possible plots against Erdoğan, which were planned to be carried out during his visit to Bosnia. Erdoğan responded to the reports about the plot, which was reportedly foiled, after his visit. He said that notices had reached the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) from various parts of the world and various intelligence organizations. "Upon this, MİT did intensive work and interviewed the interlocutors. They put our teams on alert. I told the undersecretary of MİT to ‘go ahead one day in advance.' He went a day ago, we took our precautions," the president said.
Erdoğan said that he is not receiving such notices for the first time either at home or abroad.
The Veterans Today article also added that "the U.S. now believes that it cannot attack Iran without killing Erdoğan first and that Putin, without Erdogan at his side, will back away from supporting Assad or offering further arms sales to Iran."
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been particularly sour after the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
After the relocation took place on May 14, Turkey told Israeli envoys in Ankara and Istanbul to go back to their country for some time.
AK Party sole party with strong
candidate list for parliament
Albayrak also commented on the upcoming elections, saying that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been preparing strategically for the upcoming June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections and the party's candidate list is an indicator of that strategy.
"It has been seen once again that AK Party has been the only party with a strong candidate list as Turkish politics enter a new era," Albayrak said. Albayrak, who is listed on the candidate list for Istanbul, added that the main aim is to ensure the AK Party wins the elections and Erdoğan is re-elected. Erdoğan will run for president as the joint candidate of the People's Alliance, formed by AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The incumbent president will run against six other rivals for re-election. The energy minister added there is a strong harmony between AK Party and the MHP in the ongoing election campaign period and that trust and stability will be the determining factors in the elections.