The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) has called on International Business Machines (IBM) to terminate its connections to corrupt Turkish businesses, as new research reveals the American multinational’s ties to the country’s ruling authoritarian elite, including members of President Erdogan’s family.

In February 2022, TDP initiated a campaign investigating international companies with ties to corrupt Turkish business sectors. TDP’s research has now revealed that IBM, and its subsidiary AKSIS, have deep ties to the anti-democratic regime of Recep Erdogan, including the President’s brother-in-law, as well as the ruling AKP party and the Turkey Wealth Fund. A sovereign wealth fund like no other, the Turkey Wealth Fund has been mired in scandal since its foundation in 2016. It is exempt from public auditing and has been used to finance several of President Erdogan’s most notorious vanity projects.

The Erdogan regime has overseen a vast exercise in asset stripping through rigged tenders and corrupt business networks. As well as serving to grossly enrich the President’s close circle of allies, these same funds are used to finance the political machinery that has turned Turkey into the world’s number one jailor of journalists, a sterile dead zone of free media and hostile arena for political opponents.

Commenting on IBM and their partnerships with Turkish companies linked to Erdogan, Madeleine Joelson, executive director of the Turkish Democracy Project said:

“IBM’s close business ties to President Erdogan’s regime is a scandalous revelation. IBM is directly contributing to a system of corruption which siphons away vast sums of public money into the pockets of a notoriously corrupt and close-knit circle of oligarchs. Not only does this deprive the Turkish people of investment in critical public infrastructure, these same funds are reinvested in President Erdogan’s authoritarian regime. There is no moral justification for IBM’s contribution to the corrupt and repressive machinery that is rapidly corroding Turkish democracy’s foundations. The multinational must act quickly to sever these ties.”