Taner Ay, a senior member of Osmanen Germania (Ottomans from Germany) –- a Turkish nationalist biker gang banned in Germany -– has died in a traffic accident in Bulgaria, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Thursday.
The Porsche driven by Ay plunged into a ravine as he was on his way to Düsseldorf, where he resided, Gazete Duvar said, adding that an emergency response team pronounced Ay dead at the scene, while his bodyguard Anıl Sümer was taken to the hospital with injuries.
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.
(1)Türkiye'den Almanya'ya dönerken Bulgaristan’da trafik kazası sonucu öldüğü bilgisi gelince Alman makamlarına soruldu. Teyit edildi. pic.twitter.com/u7WJr3ka5T
— Oktay Yaman 🇪🇺 (@JournalistYaman) December 30, 2021
Oktay Yaman, a Turkish-German journalist, tweeted that German authorities confirmed the death of Ay in a car accident.
Notorious Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker, who has been sending shockwaves across the country since early May through scandalous revelations on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating former and current state officials and their family members, mentioned Ay in a YouTube video released in early June.
Peker claimed he had given 1.5 million Turkish lira ($113,376) to Ay upon a request by 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.
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.
Ay’s links to Erdoğan and his AKP government were also revealed in photos he posted on Instagram with such senior politicians as Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, MİT head Hakan Fidan and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Ersin Tatar.
The trial of Peker, who faces an aggravated life sentence and an additional sentence of between 262 years and 392 years on various charges including establishing and running a criminal organization, incitement to murder and causing injury by a firearm, began in absentia at an İstanbul court earlier this week.
The mafia boss, who lives in exile, is among the 92 defendants in the trial, 26 of whom are currently in jail.