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Multibillion-dollar deals with UAE raise prospects of Turkish mob boss’ extradition

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An extradition agreement signed between the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, one of 13 agreements estimated to be worth $50 billion in total, raises the possibility of Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker’s extradition from the UAE, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Wednesday.

The agreements were signed during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday as he toured wealthy Gulf Arab nations in a bid to attract investment from the region and bolster his country’s ailing economy.

According to Cumhuriyet, after the implementation of the “Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on the Extradition of Criminals” signed between the two countries, Turkey may request the extradition of Peker, who is currently living in self-exile in the Gulf country, has been silent for a long time out of concern for his safety and is forbidden from broadcasting exposés on the internet.

The mob boss faces multiple trials in Turkey in which he faces charges of the consecutive commission of the crimes of “insult,” “issuing threats” and “slander.”

Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of 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 sent shockwaves across the country in the summer of 2021 through scandalous revelations on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking, corruption and murders implicating former and current state officials and their family members.

Although Peker promised to release videos two months before the 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections containing scandalous revelations about the government’s dirty laundry, he could not keep his promise and had to go silent in what many said was a result of an agreement between Turkey and the UAE.

Peker reportedly told people in his close circle that then-Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s  visit to the UAE in late 2022 was for the purpose of requesting his extradition.

In February 2022 the Ministry of Justice requested Peker’s temporary arrest for the purpose of extradition to Turkey after INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for the mafia leader’s arrest earlier that month.

In June 2021 Peker said he had been warned by UAE authorities about the “high security risk” of his videos filled with bombshell accusations, particularly against Soylu.

Peker subsequently stopped sharing the content.

The UAE authorities “told me that there’s something called an international security protocol. I can’t share videos due to the high security risk,” Peker said on Twitter on June 18, 2021, adding that he was not allowed to use the social media platform.

The mafia boss also said at the time that UAE officials warned him of possible assassination attempts against his life.

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