Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has demanded an investigation into allegations raised by a notorious mafia boss about him and filed a criminal complaint on accusations of insulting and threatening him.
Soylu on Monday applied to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to demand an investigation into claims recently raised by mob boss Sedat Peker in several YouTube videos that directly targeted Soylu.
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups, has for the last two weeks been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he releases on YouTube. The videos reach over a million viewers in the first day of their release. Peker, who lives in Dubai and is the subject of an outstanding warrant in Turkey, has been making striking revelations about state-mafia relations and drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials.
In two videos released last week, Peker made allegations about his relationship with Soylu, who recently called him a “dirty mafia leader,” claiming that Soylu’s views of him were different until recently.
Peker claimed Soylu approved police protection for him in 2015 and alleged that it was connections to his family that had helped Soylu rise through the ranks of the right-wing True Path Party (DYP) before he joined the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2012 at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Peker also claimed that Soylu helped him avoid prosecution by notifying him that an investigation into him was being launched before he fled Turkey in early 2020. He also said Soylu previously told people that he “liked” Peker.
“What has changed in such a short period of time? Aren’t you the one who gave me police protection and then extended it a year later?” the mafia boss asked.
In his petition Soylu claimed that Peker’s allegations were completely baseless and were aimed at discrediting him.
Once a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, Peker left Turkey following the publication of a report related to arms trafficking to Syria that was allegedly carried out under the guise of humanitarian aid. Although police recently raided his villa in İstanbul’s Beykoz district as part of an organized crime operation, they failed to detain him since he was out of the country.