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Ex-minister Bağış argues leaked recording mocking Quran doctored in London

Egemen Bağış

Turkey’s former minister of European Affairs, Egemen Bağış, has claimed that a voice recording of him mocking the Quran was doctored in London.

Speaking to a pro-government Turkish TV station on Sunday, Bağış said the voice recording was altered by combining syllables and that the plot had been scientifically documented. However, Bağış did not explain who had tested it and how it was proven to have been doctored.

An audio recording leaked in March 2014 revealed Bağış, who was forced to resign amid a graft scandal that had erupted the previous December, mocking the Quran in a phone conversation with journalist Metehan Demir.

Demir had acknowledged the content of the conversation and apologized, but Bağış denied the content of the conversation, saying the tape was doctored.

In the recordings, a voice, allegedly that of Bağış, can be heard making jokes about the Quran, saying he “tosses” verses from the Quran onto Twitter every Friday, presumably in an effort to present himself as a religious person. He is also heard twisting the name of the second chapter of the Quran, “Surah Baqara,” calling it “makara,” which is related to Turkish expressions like “to pull a prank on someone,” “to joke around.” The combination “Baqara makara” also means that what is being talked about — in this instance, the second chapter of the Quran — is nonsense.

After reiterating his claim that the tape was doctored, Bağış further said that people who wanted to discredit him and other ministers within the party who were not rooted in the Islamist tradition had devised the plot.

In other audio leaks, Bağış had been heard taking large bribes from Turkish Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who is currently imprisoned and awaiting trial in the US on charges of violating sanctions against Iran.

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