Turkish mafia boss accuses Erdogan government of drug and weapon trafficking
In Turkey, a scandal continues after the exiled head of the local mafia has accused the Turkish government of drug and weapon trafficking. There have been reports of his detention, but they remain unconfirmed. So who is Sedat Peker, what is he accusing the Turkish government of and why has he become a problem for President Erdogan and his ministers?
Sedat Peker, known as the leader of an organized crime group who is currently residing in an undefined place outside Turkey, has been posting videos on his YouTube channel.
In his video messages, Peker reports on the corruption of the current and former Turkish authorities, heads of security agencies, authoritative politicians and businessmen. Peker’s video series expose major financial frauds, including drug trafficking via Venezuela and illegal arms shipments to Syria.
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Reports of Sedat Peker’s arrest
For the first time since his new video was posted last weekend, Peker did not reach out to his followers on social media with a new video. On June 13, several sources reported that he was arrested at his home in the United Arab Emirates as a result of a special operation carried out by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization together with Qatari colleagues.
Sedat Peker’s lawyer, Ozlem Gyurses, denied these reports but his location remains unknown as well as the reasons why he disappeared from social media.
Minister of the Interior and ‘troll factory’
One of the most discussed statements of Sedat Peker is one about the current Minister of Internal Affairs of Turkey, Suleiman Soil.
In one of his videos, the head of the mafia noted that he had been friends with Soylu’s father for 30 years, supported the current minister during the early stages of his career. When Soylu became minister, he protected Peker out of gratitude for his support.
Peker begins his address with the words: “Suleiman Soylu, do you remember how you informed me that a criminal case has been launched against me, promised to warn me if the case took a dangerous scenario, and provided a police guard for me?”
Peker then explains how he supported the minister via social media by creating bot accounts and launching campaigns on the news outlets under his control: “Remember those 1.3 million tweets in your favor? All these records have been preserved”, says Sedat Peker.
The campaign was launched when the minister found himself in a crisis in April 2020. Back then, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Turkey, people in 30 major cities have been banned from going outside for 48 hours.
The announcement was made just a few hours before the start of the restrictions. As a result, crowds of people in these cities literally attacked grocery stores and hundreds of thousands of people on social media accused Interior Minister Suleiman Soila of the poor handling of the crisis and demanded his resignation.
However, a total of 1,00,3,000 users supported Soila. He nevertheless resigned, but two hours later the president announced that he would not accept the minister’s resignation. Peker spoke about those events in his video.
After Peker’s allegations, Soylu replied to his opponent on social media: “I turned to the prosecutor’s office to investigate the allegation and false accusations and to clarify everything. I believe in a fair trial. You, too, do not hide, like a mouse, come to your country and surrender to justice”.
Son of a former prime minister and cocaine trafficking routes
In another scandalous statement, Sedat Peker speaks of the son of the former Turkish Prime Minister, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Binali Yıldırım.
Peker claims that recently the center of the cocaine trade has moved from Colombia to Venezuela, and “Binali Yildirim’s son Erkam Yildirim visited Venezuela in order to create a new drug route earlier this year”.
In December 2020, Erkam Yildirim announced his visit to Venezuela on social media. According to him, the visit was related to humanitarian issues. The ex-head of the Turkish government said in response to the accusations: “He went here to distribute Covid-19 tests, masks, and other items to those in need”.
Like Soylu, Binali Yildirim turned to the prosecutor’s office over Sedat Peker’s allegations. According to their statements, the court has already ruled to arrest the head of the mafia and put him on the wanted list through Interpol.
President promises to find and arrest Peker
Recep Tayyip Erdogan supported the members of his team and referred to Sedat Peker’s statements as an integral part of the incriminating activities of external forces against Turkey.
“No one should doubt that these heinous operations will end in failure. We are pursuing members of criminal gangs, wherever they are, all over the world. We will not stop until we bring them to the country and bring them to justice”, Erdogan said.
Sedat Peker’s address to President Erdogan
Before Erdogan’s statements, Sedat Peker never mentioned him in his videos, however, he has recently published a video directly addressing the president.
“Will you change the truth if you bring me to the country, my brother Tayyip? If I am a spy, henceforth in my videos I will speak when we met. I am sure that what I said will also be checked on a lie detector. If something turns out not to be what I say, I will shoot myself in the head”, Pecker said.
Allegations of weapon supplies to Syria
In the same video, Sedat Peker described how his convoys were used to supply weapons to the Al-Nusra armed group under the guise of humanitarian aid to the Syrian Turkmans.
“… There were other cars that went under my name. We were told that they were going to help the Turkmans. And we didn’t know what was in the cars. Well, as I say, we don’t know. But there were weapons, we are not that naive. I have nothing to do with them, but they went under my name. Without registration, without any verification”, said Peker.
The head of the mafia says that those wishing to conduct trade in Syria must agree on this personally with the head of the presidential affairs department Metin Kyratli:
“I’m not talking about a trade of goods in one or two trucks. I mean large volumes. Smuggled oil, tea, sugar, aluminum, copper, used cars. There are billions of dollars in it”.
Erdogan forbids responding to Pecker’s accusations
On June 10, the Turkish President and chairman of the ruling AKP party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, banned the government officials from responding to Peker’s statements, as “this could lead the reasoning in undesirable directions”.
Erdogan also banned parliament from starting any investigations based on the statements of the head of the mafia.
Half of the country’s population trusts Pecker’s claims
Since the publication of revealing videos, the number of subscribers to Sedat Peker’s YouTube channel has grown from 400,000 to 1.1 million. The videos themselves have already been watched over 100 million times.
According to a survey by MetroPOLL, 48.3% of respondents believe that Pecker’s statements are true or mostly true. 18% of the respondents believe that a small part of his statements is true, and 22.5% of the respondents do not trust these statements.
To the question “Do you believe that mafia groups are protected by someone?” 61.2% percent of the respondents answered in the affirmative and 22.6% of respondents were against such a possibility.