Turkish mafia boss revelations rattle Erdogan's government and top officials

·5-min read
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File Photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File Photo)

By John Solomou

Nicosia (Cyprus) May 29 (ANI) - In a series of seven You Tube videos released so far, and watched by more than 57 million people, notorious Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker made bombshell revelations with his claims that the Turkish government and politicians are in cahoots with the criminal underworld.

Ultra-nationalist Peker who served a number of prison terms, including for murder, kidnapping and establishing a criminal organization, confessed that he had a role in carrying out criminal acts on behalf of powerful figures in Turkey.

Peker said that former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was the head of the deep state in Turkey and accused Agar and former intelligence official Korkut Eken of committing several unlawful acts, while they served in their posts, including involvement in an international drug-smuggling scheme and the killing of investigative journalist Ugur Mumcu with a car bomb in Ankara and shooting dead in the Turkish- held part of Cyprus of Turkish Cypriot journalist and peace advocate Kutlu Adali in 1996. These murders remain unsolved.

The revelations made by Peker bring to mind the famous Susurluk scandal, which revealed the close relationship among the deep state in Turkey, the Grey Wolves and the Turkish mafia.

The scandal surfaced with a car-truck collision on November 3, 1996, near Susurluk, in the Balikesir province. The victims included the deputy chief of the Istanbul Police Department, a Member of Parliament, and Abdullah Catli, the leader of the Grey Wolves and a contract killer for the National Intelligence Organization (Turkey) (MIT), who was on Interpol's red list at the time of his death. It should be noted that the head of Police at the time was Mehmet Agar, who resigned from his post due to the scandal.

After his release from jail in 2014, Peker became friendly with AKP leading figures, who used him to exert pressure and beat up their opponents and commit several unlawful acts.

One of the most serious accusations made by Peker, is that AKP deputy Tolga Agar, son of Mehmet Agar, was involved in the suspicious death two years ago of Yeldana Kaharman, a 21-year-old Kyrgyz journalist, who filed a complaint against him just a day before she was found dead.

The mafia boss also alleged that Erkan Yildirim, the son of former AKP Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, was involved in a trafficking scheme to bring cocaine from Venezuela to Turkey.

He said that Erkan Yildirim was smuggling cocaine as part of a trafficking network stretching through the casino economy of northern-Cyprus and a Syrian port.

Binali Yildirim said the allegation was a lie and a slander and said that his son went to Venezuela to distribute surgical masks to combat the coronavirus.

Peker, who is believed to be in Dubai, threatened to "ruin" Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in an eighth video he promised to post on May 30. Peker claimed that Soylu tipped him off that authorities were on his case, prompting him to flee Turkey in 2020 to avoid prosecution.

The reason he turned against Soylu is because his family was mistreated during a police raid on his Istanbul residence last month. In all his videos Peker insisted that there is extensive collaboration between organized crime and top officials.

Responding to the mafia boss' allegations, Suleyman Soylu filed a criminal complaint against Peker last week and appeared on the national broadcaster Haberturk on May 25 in an attempt to clear his name of wrongdoing. Journalists say he was not very convincing. All the men accused by Peker vehemently deny the mafia boss' allegations.

Recent polls show that the approval ratings of the ruling AKP party have fallen by one third to 27 per cent, while Erdogan's approval rating stands at only 40 per cent. Peker's revelations may cause these numbers to fall further.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Peker's accusations and expressed his support for Soylu. He said: "We stand with our Interior Minister in his battle with criminal gangs, as well as with terrorist organizations. Turkey will thwart these plots and will bring organized crime bosses to Turkey to face justice."

On May 27 the Ankara Chief Prosecutors Office issued a warrant for the arrest of Sedat Peker.

What is remarkable is that Peker has not accused President Erdogan of any wrongdoing and always speaks of his "Brother Tayyip". Some observers suspect that he is in fact targeting close associates of the Turkish President, who have become quite strong, helping in this way Erdogan to get rid of them and end their political career.

No matter what Peker's real aims are, his videos confirm the suspicion that a deep state continues to exist in Turkey and indicates that AKP continues to use the underworld to further its aims against its opponents.

Peker said that in 2015, at the request of an AKP deputy, he sent his men to attack the Hurriyet newspaper to make it stop criticizing Erdogan. After this attack, Hurriyet's boss sold the paper to a pro-government media group.

Fikri Saglar, of the main opposition CHP party, says the Peker affair is part of a much bigger problem. "The government never managed to distance itself from the mafia [...] Today, it is cozying up the government. Peker's videos show it is abundantly clear that the government and the mafia are close."

Prominent Turkish journalist Murat Yetin in an interview stressed. "It is impossible for the government to remain silent over the video releases of Peker, as a boundary has been passed."

Former head of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission Ayhan Sefer Ustun said: "Turkey should launch a countrywide campaign against the deep state and a widespread mafia structure that reached out to the inner circles of the state." (ANI)