ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — From alleged drug trafficking and a murder cover-up to weapons transfers to Islamic militants, a convicted crime ringleader has been dishing the dirt on members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party through a series of tell-all videos that have captivated the nation and turned him into an unlikely social media phenomenon.
Sedat Peker, a 49-year-old fugitive crime boss, who once openly supported Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, has been releasing nearly 90-minute long videos from his stated base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, making scandalous but yet-unproven drip-by-drip allegations, in an apparent bid to settle scores with political figures.
The weekly YouTube videos have been viewed more than 75 million times, causing an uproar, heightening concerns over Turkish state corruption and putting officials on the defensive. They have also exposed alleged rifts between rival factions within the ruling party and added to Erdogan’s troubles as he battles an economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic.
Supporters of Turkish mafia leaders have entered into a war of words following a penal reform that would release a large number of people held in Turkish prisons.
Prisoner releases have begun in Turkey after a law was passed that will see as many as 90,000 inmates set free to reduce the coronavirus pandemic’s threat to the country’s overcrowded prisons.
A notorious convicted mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, known for his close ties to Nationalist Movement Party, is among those who will enjoy the parole, according to Turkish media.
Following the reports, supporters of Çakıcı took to Twitter to threaten his rival Sedat Peker, a hard-line Turkish nationalist convicted of crimes including establishing a criminal organisation.
Çakıcı, who was a household name in the 1980s as a mob boss, was indicted in 1995 for contracting the killing of his wife in front of their son before fleeing abroad. Following his 1998 extradition from France, Çakıcı was released from prison in 2002. In 2004 Çakıcı was extradited again, this time from Austria, and has been in prison ever since, convicted of various charges including organising and leading a crime syndicate, instigating murder, and insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey said on Monday its former economy minister, indicted in the United States for conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, acted within international law and that charges against him amounted to a coup attempt through American courts.
Former minister Zafer Caglayan “has protected Turkey’s interests as Turkish economy minister, and has acted within the laws of our country and international laws while doing that,” government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said.
The charges against Caglayan were “a repetition of the December FETO coup attempt … through the American judiciary”, Bozdag said, referring to 2013 leaks about alleged government corruption which were blamed on President Tayyip Erdogan’s opponents.
Caglayan and the ex-head of a state-owned Turkish bank were charged on Wednesday with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran by illegally moving hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on Tehran’s behalf.
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