Court arrests 10 of 49 suspects detained in operations targeting Turkish mob boss

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An İstanbul court has arrested 10 out of 49 organized crime suspects who were recently detained in cross-country operations, as a part of which police had also targeted mafia leader Sedat Peker, once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

On April 9 police raided 121 locations in Ankara, Kocaeli, Trabzon and Hatay provinces in addition to İstanbul, with arrest warrants for 63 suspects, including Peker, who was determined to be the ringleader of the criminal group. The officers detained 49 suspects in the operation, failing to capture the mob boss since he was abroad, Turkish media reports said.

Seventeen of the detainees were referred for arrest to the Criminal Court of Peace at İstanbul’s Anadolu Courthouse. The court arrested 10 of the suspects while releasing the remainder under judicial supervision.

The 10 suspects were arrested on charges that include “establishing an organization for the purpose of committing offenses,” “membership in an organization established for the purpose of engaging in criminal activity,” “armed robbery” and “violating the law on firearms and other weapons.”

In the past, pictures of Erdoğan with Peker, who was a regular guest at the president’s official events, had caused controversy due to the mafia leader’s criminal reputation. Peker had also published video speeches threatening Erdoğan critics and held rallies in predominantly nationalist cities like Trabzon and Rize.

The mob leader left Turkey in early 2020 and settled in Montenegro, following the publication of a report related to arms trafficking to Syria, which was allegedly carried out under the guise of humanitarian aid. He later moved to North Macedonia, from where he was deported in January to Kosovo.

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