It has been claimed that a widely shared photo on social media is showing an authentic document about the Turkey Wealth Fund with the signatures of President Erdogan on it as the one who nominates, appoints and approves himself as the chairman of the Turkey Wealth Fund.
Nearly 20 thousand users liked a tweet emphasizing this claim and almost 12 thousand have retweeted so far.
However, it is not true that this is an authentic document.
The official documents on the recent developments about the Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund have been published on the Official Gazette of the Republic of Turkey. Neither the writing style nor the information stated on the original documents published in the Official Gazette match with the one claimed on this photo.
Nevertheless, it is true that President Erdogan appointed himself as the chairman of the Turkey Wealth Fund. The relevant authentic document on this decision can easily be found on the Official Gazette and it is not similar to the one widely shared on social media.
Although we couldn’t find where this supposedly authentic document was shared first, it can be said that majority of the social media users in Turkey have shared this photo not as an authentic document but as a way to criticize such a decision.
For the people who thought of it as an authentic document, it might be the case that such a controversial appointment led to a situation where they considered this document as an original one. The reality was slightly different though.
Apparent irregularities on the supposedly authentic document
There are a few irregularities on the widely shared document. When compared to the style of the documents on the Official Gazette, the very first thing catches one’s eye is a typo on the sentence at the top.
In Turkish, “to be appointed as the chairman” of a board should be written as “başkanlığına atanmak” and not as “başkanına atanmak.” Such simple mistakes can hardly be found on the Official Gazette.
Another thing that raises concerns about the document is the signatures. It is true that it is the signature of President Erdogan. However, all four signatures are exactly the same which gives the impression that they are copy-pasted -considering it is quite easy to find his signature on the internet- and they are not wet signatures.
In fact, on the official document about the amendments, there is no signature at all. Only Erdogan’s name is visible as the one who approved the changes. Since the decision was about an amendment on how the sovereign wealth fund’s board will be, the official document was published on the Official Gazette and there was no need for a signature on the document for the decision to be enacted.
In another case, on January 2017, there were a few changes in the board of the Turkey Wealth Fund. Four people appointed as the board members of the company and the relevant document about that decision was published on the website of the wealth fund. That decision was approved by Binali Yildirim -with a wet signature- who was the prime minister back then. One can also compare this document with the one shared on social media and see some stylistic differences.
The supposedly authentic document says “the appointer” (atayan), “the appointee” (atanan), “the board members” (üyeler), and “the approver” (onaylayan) were all the same. While such portrayal seems quite informal when compared to authentic documents on the Official Gazette, it also presents false information especially regarding the board members since there were a number of people on the board of the company and with a few changes after President Erdogan became the chairperson, there are still a number of people on the board. Current board members can be seen on the website of the wealth fund.
The original document can be found on the Official Gazette
One can access the official document showing President Erdogan appointed -indirectly- himself as the chairman of the Turkey Wealth Fund online.
The decision published on September 11, 2018 suggests that President Erdogan approved a few changes about how the Turkey Wealth Fund will be managed.
Among those amendments, one of the highly debated issues was the first sentence of the suggestion: “The chairperson of the company’s board is the President.”
With the approval of that clause by himself, President Erdogan automatically becomes the chairman of the Turkey Wealth Fund.
To sum up, it should be noted again that the document which is widely shared on social media about the Turkey Wealth Fund showing Erdogan’s signatures as the one who nominates, appoints and approves himself as the chairman of the Turkey Wealth Fund is not an authentic one. Meanwhile, it is true that after his approval of the amendments on how the company will be managed, he has now become the chairperson of the Turkey Wealth Fund.
Turkey Wealth Fund Management Co, Decision about the appointed board members, 19 January 2017
Hurriyet Daily, Turkey’s Wealth Fund: What’s next?, 7 February 2017
Hurriyet Daily, President Erdoğan becomes chair of Turkey's sovereign wealth fund, 12 September 2018
Turkey Wealth Fund Management Co, Board of Directors
Official Gazette of the Republic of Turkey, Decision Number: 2018/162