A senior official from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has refused to answer a question about claims that he was receiving monthly payments of $10,000 from a gangster whose recent revelations about shady relations between the mafia and state actors have been shaking Turkey.
“Thank you so much for your attention. I wish you success in your work,” former AKP lawmaker and current member of the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) Metin Külünk said when asked by the OdaTV news website about the claims on Wednesday.
Külünk is also a close confidant of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, a direct target of mafia leader Sedat Peker, who has been setting the nation’s agenda with the videos he’s been posting on YouTube since early May, said in televised remarks last week, when responding to Peker’s allegations, that a politician was receiving a monthly payment of $10,000 from Peker.
Soylu made the assertion based on Peker’s statement that he ordered a raid on the headquarters of the Hürriyet daily in 2015 upon a request from a then-AKP lawmaker.
There were claims that it was Külünk who ordered the raid on Hürriyet.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Özgür Özel called on Soylu to reveal the name of the politician who is paid by the mafia leader.
According to German media reports in 2017, Külünk provided money to a boxing gang in Germany, Osmanen Germania, to purchase weapons, organize protests and target critics of the Turkish leader.
Külünk denied the claims at the time.