Top Erdoğan advisor's high-school diploma forged - report

A Turkish court ruling from 2001 shows that the high-school diploma of top advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was forged, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Saturday.

The high-school degree certificate of former Olympic Turkish wrestler turned politician, Hamza Yerlikaya, was a fake and used in an application for a university degree programme, it cited the court documents as saying.

The 44-year-old two-time Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling graduated from the department of Physical Education and Sports at Süleyman Demirel University, and worked as a civil servant in Turkish State Railways, Emlak Bank and the Istanbul municipality before his election to parliament in 2005. 

The senior Erdoğan advisor made headlines in June when he was appointed as a board member at the state-run Vakıfbank, in a move that angered the opposition, which accused the government of leaving state banks in the hands of individuals with no finance experience.

The former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker was exempted from forgery charges after a court ruled that there was no proof of his involvement in the creation of the fraudulent document, Cumhuriyet said.