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HDP asks for parliamentary investigation into bribery, corruption allegations by mafia boss

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The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has asked the Turkish parliament to investigate revelations made by mafia boss Sedat Peker, who on Saturday recounted the inner workings of a bribery and corruption network involving an advisor of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, local media reported on Wednesday.

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 on Saturday, revealing a network of bribery and corruption at Turkey’s stock exchange.

Peker said Erdoğan advisor Serkan Taranoğlu, former Capital Markets Board (SPK) chair Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Zehra Taşkesenlioğlu 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.

HDP parliamentary group deputy chairs Meral Danış Beştaş and Saruhan Oluç on Wednesday submitted the motion in which it was said that the fact that prosecutors don’t take action in the face of such allegations spreads the belief that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is “oppressing and directing the judiciary.”

“The silence of the prosecutors also points to the fact that the crime of ‘abuse of public duty’ … is being committed. The allegations are serious and need to be investigated. Otherwise, it will cast a shadow over the prestige of the parliament,” the HDP also said.

The motion comes on the heels of criminal complaints filed by Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party, Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and Victory Party (ZP) against those accused in the revelations made by Peker so that the allegations can be investigated.

Nearly three out of every four people in Turkey think corruption has become more widespread over the past two years, according to a survey by global watchdog Transparency International.

The country 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 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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