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Erdoğan fires advisor named in bribery, corruption allegations by mafia boss

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has fired his advisor Serkan Taranoğlu after mafia boss Sedat Peker last week revealed the inner workings of a bribery and corruption network involving him, BBC Turkish service reported on Thursday, citing a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Central Executive Board (MYK).

According to BBC, the AKP member confirmed that Erdoğan announced during an MYK meeting on Thursday that Taranoğlu’s “job was over.”

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 last week, revealing a network of bribery and corruption at Turkey’s stock exchange.

Peker said 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 ($658,000) 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 leader’s allegations were followed by 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 so that they 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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