Crime boss Sedat Peker claimed on Sunday that he had given 1.5 million Turkish lira ($180,000) to a relative of Metin Külünk, a former lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and a confidant of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to finance Osmanen Germania, a Turkish nationalist biker gang banned in Germany.
Osmanen Germania has threatened local Kurdish activists in the past and was banned by the German government in 2018. The group still operates in various European countries such as the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In January 2019 a German court convicted five members of the gang on charges that include attempted murder, extortion, drug trafficking, deprivation of liberty and forced prostitution and sentenced them to three to six years in prison.
According to a report by German news outlet Stuttgarter Nachtringen citing wiretap records from court documents, Külünk financed the outlawed gang at Erdoğan’s behest and told them to buy automatic weapons such as submachine guns.
According to the German authorities, the Turkish government was also involved in financing the group as Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) funded the group’s purchase of weapons.
For the first time, a senior figure claiming to have been involved in the scheme, mafia boss Peker, corroborated the accusations, with his latest tell-all video garnering more than 10 million views since Sunday.
From Germany to Syria: Erdoğan supplying weapons to outlawed groups
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, has since early May been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he posts on YouTube from Dubai. The mob boss has been accusing former and current government officials and their relatives of corruption, drug trafficking, rape and murder, among other crimes.
In his eighth video on May 30, Peker claimed that a paramilitary group established by a former aide to the Turkish president sent weapons to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria in 2015.
Peker said the weapons to the radical al-Nusra group were sent in 2015 by the SADAT International Defense Consultancy, a paramilitary organization established by Adnan Tanrıverdi, a former aide to Erdoğan.
Trucks that allegedly belonged to MİT which were carrying weapons to jihadists in Syria were caught near the border in 2014, sparking a political firestorm in Turkey about the role of the Turkish spy agency in arming rebel factions in Syria.
The AKP and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan strongly denied the claims, saying the trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmens in northern Syria.
Following the mafia boss’s revelation, Can Dündar, a Turkish journalist who along with fellow journalist Erdem Gül stood trial for reporting in May 2015 on the MİT trucks that allegedly carried weapons to the jihadist group in Syria and was sentenced to 27 years on various charges including espionage, made a statement saying that Peker’s claims confirmed the authenticity of his report, which was published in the Cumhuriyet daily.
He said the prosecutors and military officers who were prosecuted and given lengthy jail sentences for stopping the MİT trucks as well as the journalists who reported on the trucks like him were paying a price for uncovering the truth behind the MİT trucks.
Dündar fled Turkey in 2016 to avoid a crackdown on journalists critical of the government and has been living in exile in Germany ever since.