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Court blocks access to news stories on mob boss’ posts including footage of AKP MP

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An Ankara court has blocked access to three online news stories which covered recent social media posts by mafia boss Sedat Peker that included video footage of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Zehra Taşkesenlioğlu, the Freedom of Expression Association’s (İFÖD) EngelliWeb initiative reported on Monday.

Over the weekend Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who has been making shocking revelations since early 2021 about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials and their family members, unveiled a new series of allegations from his Twitter handle, revealing a network of bribery and corruption at Turkey’s stock exchange.

Peker said AKP deputy Taşkesenlioğlu, her brother and former Capital Markets Board (SPK) chair Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu; advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Serkan Taranoğlu; and pro-government daily Hürriyet columnist Burak Taşçı were all involved in the operation of the bribery network extorting the owners of companies that are listed on the stock exchange.

Peker claimed that Taranoğlu and Taşkesenlioğlu demanded a bribe of 12 million lira ($660,000 as of Aug. 29, 2022) from Mine Tozlu Sineren, the owner of Marka Investment Holding, for processing her company’s request to issue new shares through increasing capital. Sineren corroborated Peker’s allegations in a live broadcast and said no action has been taken by the authorities despite her complaints.

The mafia boss also released video footage that he alleged was of Taşkesenlioğlu and was secretly shot by her husband Ünsal Ban, after she slightly injured him with a knife in their home.

“I talked to him [Ban] over the phone a few times. He also thinks he will be killed. He sent me this footage … and I’m going to share it with you. … Mr. Ünsal, you asked me not to mention your name and not to publish the video. … [But] I’m doing this out of necessity to save your life,” Peker said in a series of tweets.

“You two waste me so that you can make money. Damn you and the money you make. … I’m either going to kill myself or you [since] I can’t take this anymore,” Taşkesenlioğlu was heard saying in the video, while holding a fairly big kitchen knife in her hand.

According to Peker’s allegations, in the video, the AKP deputy refers to her brother Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu and husband Ban. The MP and Ban are currently in the process of divorcing, according to local media reports.

The Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace on Monday made the decision to ban access to news pieces regarding the video footage released by the mafia boss on the grounds that they “violated the personal rights” of the ruling party lawmaker, EngelliWeb said.

“My footage, which was shot secretly by Ünsal Ban with my head uncovered, in my own home, has been served to millions, disregarding my personal and family privacy,” Taşkesenlioğlu, who wears a headscarf, said on Monday in a written statement released on Twitter, claiming that she was “exposed to the most severe form of violence against women” with the footage in question.

Turkey was shaken by two corruption investigations implicating then-prime minister and current president Erdoğan’s inner circle that became public Dec.17-25, 2013. Erdoğan’s AKP government subsequently suppressed the scandal by managing to control the judiciary by creating special criminal courts headed by a single judge, thanks to the AKP’s parliamentary majority.

These judges then jailed all the police and prosecutors who had conducted the 2013 corruption investigations, while Erdoğan and his family members who were implicated have never appeared in court.

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