Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have rejected a parliamentary motion to investigate allegations of a notorious Turkish mafia boss who has been accusing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and other government officials of criminal acts in a series of YouTube posts.
Once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups, has since early May been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he posts on YouTube, the latest of which was watched by nearly 15 million people since Sunday. Having fled to Dubai, the mobster has been making shocking revelations about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials.
The motion was submitted to parliament by Ali Kenanoğlu, an İstanbul lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who argued that Peker’s claims about criminal acts such as “murders, abductions and bribery” must be investigated to reveal whether some former and current officials were really involved in them.
“This commission [to investigate Peker’s claims] is important for revealing those responsible for the killings of Kurdish businessmen in the 1990s, the Roboski [Uludere] massacre and the bombings at the Ankara train station [in 2015]. … It’s crucial for investigating torture in custody, on the streets and behind bars [in Turkey] during AKP rule,” Kenanoğlu said.
In the Uludere district of Şırnak province on the Turkish-Iraqi border, 34 young Kurdish civilians, all male, were killed on Dec. 28, 2011, when Turkish jets bombed them after they were mistaken for terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The HDP lawmaker added that such a commission would also investigate who ordered Peker to hold rallies in predominantly nationalist cities like Trabzon and Rize in support of the Public Alliance (Cumhur İttifakı), formed by Erdoğan’s ruling AKP and his ally MHP, several years ago.
Kenanoğlu further stated that it’s also important to reveal why the mafia boss refers to Soylu in the videos frequently as his “ticket back to Turkey.”
Peker, who left Turkey in early 2020 following the publication of a report related to arms trafficking to Syria that was allegedly carried out under the guise of humanitarian aid, claims that Soylu had promised to get him back to Turkey and restore his honor but that the minister failed to keep his word.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Muharrem Erkek, who took the floor to comment of the motion, accused the ruling AKP of increasing the crime rate due to its alleged relations with the mafia.
“Turkey doesn’t deserve this. Mob bosses held rallies during your rule, threatening to kill opposition party leaders. Could they have done that without political support? Who is responsible for this? Why did this happen? It happened because you were together with the mafia,” Erkek said.