A lawyer representing notorious Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker has said his client and his family can’t just leave the United Arab Emirates and go to another country to apply for asylum since they currently have no valid passports, local media reported on Wednesday.
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left Turkey in early 2020 following the publication of a report related to arms trafficking to Syria that was allegedly carried out under the guise of humanitarian aid.
The mob boss, who lives in exile in the UAE, sent shockwaves across the country in the summer of 2021 through scandalous revelations he made on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating former and current state officials and their family members.
Peker, who was silent for a long time out of concern for his safety and has been forbidden from broadcasting exposés on the internet, recently became active again on social media, making shocking claims about some pro-government figures. He went silent again after vowing to make scandalous revelations about the government’s dirty affairs in videos he would release two months before Turkey’s general and presidential elections in 2023.
Lawyer Ersan Barkın on Tuesday participated in a program on Halk TV by phone, saying the mafia boss and his family don’t have valid passports and therefore can’t claim asylum in another country to avoid the digital embargo imposed on them.
“I can say that he isn’t [even] in a position to leave his house. The UAE government provides him with security. He and his family members don’t have passports. … Therefore, it’s impossible for them to apply for asylum at any [other] country’s embassy,” the lawyer said.
Barkın also spoke about the digital ban Peker faces, saying it has come to the point where the mob boss was informed that the security provided him by the UAE government would be withdrawn if any social media accounts linked to him shared posts that included revelations similar to those he made in the past.
When he was asked whether Peker would be able to make the revelations he promised two months before the June 2023 elections in Turkey, Barkın said: “… Turkey’s people, journalists and opposition politicians should help Peker keep his promise. The honest answer is: I don’t know.”
Peker had previously said he was saving some of his crucial revelations about political figures in Turkey and would make them two months before the elections so that the electorate would still remember them when they cast their votes in June 2023.
Noting that there was currently no extradition agreement between the UAE and Turkey for Peker, Barkın added that he was “concerned” about the recent revival of relations that were long strained by regional disputes between the two countries, both as a citizen and for his client.