AKP MP, gendarmerie deny involvement in suspicious death of Kyrgyz journalist

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A lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as Turkey’s Gendarmerie General Command have recently issued statements denying accusations made by Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker, who had claimed that they were involved in the suspicious death of Kyrgyz national Yeldana Kaharman in 2019.

Kaharman, a student at Turkey’s Fırat University who also worked as a travel show host for Kanal 23 TV, a local broadcaster based in the eastern city of Elazığ, was found dead at home on March 28, 2019.

According to local media reports, Kaharman died a day after visiting the house of AKP lawmaker Tolga Ağar, son of former interior minister and police chief Mehmet Ağar, who served prison time on an organized crime conviction.

Claims originally voiced in January 2020 by pro-Kurdish media outlet reporter Sedat Sur that the 21-year-old Kaharman was raped by the AKP lawmaker a day before she died were also repeated by Peker in a video he shared on Youtube on Wednesday.

“Tolga Ağar had this girlfriend, a Kyrgyz national. The girl filed a complaint with the gendarmerie [in Elazığ], saying she was raped by Tolga Ağar. Then, his father [Mehmet Ağar] took the girl out of there in a helicopter. The girl was found dead the next day. … And everybody knows about it. That’s the thing. Nobody says anything,” the mafia boss said.

Following the accusations, the AKP lawmaker on Thursday released a written statement on Twitter saying that he “fiercely denies” the claims against him and vowing to start legal proceedings against Peker for an attempt at “character assassination.”

“The issue has nothing to do with me. … In Turkey, everybody knows one another and evaluates one another accordingly,” Ağar said, without directly mentioning Kaharman in the statement.

“The woman named Yeldana Kaharman in no way appealed to the gendarmerie, and the claim that she was taken away in a helicopter is completely out of the realm of reality,” the gendarmerie also said in a written statement on Thursday.

Referring to the statement, Peker argued in a tweet that it would be “foolish” to believe that the gendarmerie wouldn’t destroy the complaint of a Kyrgyz national who died suspiciously a day after filing it.

Once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Peker was last month targeted by Turkish police along with 62 other organized crime suspects as part of an İstanbul-based operation. Police officers raided Peker’s villa in İstanbul’s Beykoz district but failed to detain the mob boss since he was outside the country.

Peker left Turkey in early 2020 and settled in Montenegro, following the publication of a report related to arms trafficking to Syria that 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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