A notorious Turkish crime boss has alleged that he had a private meeting in prison with a senior government official who was sent by then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan while he was serving time in İstanbul’s Silivri Prison in 2013, local media reported on Friday.
Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, has since early May been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he posts on YouTube. Having fled to Dubai, the mafia boss has been making shocking revelations about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials and their family members.
Peker’s claim came after reports attempting to discredit the opposition published by pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) government news outlets, which said the mob boss was visited in prison in 2013 by a group of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) members led by the party’s deputy chairman Veli Ağbaba and deputy group chairman Özgür Özel.
Referring to the news reports, Peker said in a series of tweets on Friday that he was also visited by lawmakers from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an election ally of the ruling AKP, and a senior government official sent by Erdoğan.
“When I was serving time in Silivri Prison, the then-director general of prisons and detention centers [CTE] visited me in my ward. We talked in private. Such a thing had never happened before in the history of the [Turkish] Republic. He was sent by brother Tayyip,” Peker said, noting that this incident was more suitable for public attention than those reported by the pro-government outlets.
“The CCTV footage of the prison can be examined [to verify the claim]. While I was talking to the director general of the CTE [part of the Ministry of Justice] in private in my ward, [even] the warden and prosecutor were made to wait outside. Isn’t that interesting?” Peker added.
Peker, who in the past collaborated with Erdoğan, is an influential figure for Turkey’s nationalistic youth. Between 2015 and 2019 he held rallies in predominantly right-wing provinces to win votes for Erdoğan, and he seemingly enjoys strong connections in the media, politics and police as well as the military. The crime boss abruptly left Turkey in early 2020 following a rift with Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak. Peker’s recent revelations on social media have rattled some of the most important figures in Erdoğan’s power circle and have become the country’s most sensational topic of discussion.