Lawyers from a small opposition party in Turkey have filed criminal complaints against seven people including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son-in-law Berat Albayrak over a mob boss’s claims about the distribution of unregistered guns to civilians on the night of a coup attempt in July 2016, Turkish media outlets reported.
The criminal complaints were filed by the People’s Liberation Party (HKP), a left-wing populist and anti-expansionist political party.
Last week, Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, claimed that unregistered guns were handed out on the night of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and afterward under the coordination of then-minister of labor and current interior minister Süleyman Soylu.
Peker on Thursday in a series of tweets claimed that a box of unregistered AK-47s was taken from the Esenyurt district of İstanbul to the Balat neighborhood in the city’s Fatih district.
The weapons were transported in a car belonging to a youth branch official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) one night in the first week of August 2016, less than a month after the July 15 coup attempt, in which 249 people were killed, according to Peker.
In addition to Erdoğan, Albayrak and Soylu, criminal complaints were filed with the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against AKP İstanbul youth branch head Osman Tomakin, Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) President Taha Ayhan, AKP former Esenyurt youth branch head Abdülsebur Soğanlı and Interior Ministry staff member Ahmet Onay on charges of establishing a criminal organization, grand larceny and illegally obtaining weapons.
Meanwhile, then-AKP İstanbul provincial chair and current vice chair of the opposition Gelecek (Future) Party Selim Temurci recently claimed during a televised interview that Erdoğan and Albayrak were more likely to be involved in the alleged arming of civilians during the attempted coup and afterward rather than Soylu.
“Who in the world can transport [unregistered] AK-47s in the car of the AKP İstanbul youth branch chairman of the time and then distribute them [to civilians] without the knowledge of the president?” Temurci speculated.