0 5 minuti 3 anni

Istanbul, Turkey – Millions of Turks have tuned in this month to the YouTube channel of convicted Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker with his videos gripping the nation and rattling the government.

In a series of videos, apparently made in exile, Peker made a series of wild and unsubstantiated allegations against several prominent individuals – including leading figures in Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) – ranging from murder to rape, drug smuggling, corruption, and the role of organised crime in political machinations and violence.

All the allegations have been vehemently denied by those accused.

The eight videos have had more than 60 million views and Peker’s allegations have reached ever closer to the heart of government.

They have also raised fresh questions about alleged ties between the state and organised crime, which many had believed were largely consigned to some of the darkest periods in Turkey’s history.

Peker’s allegations

Peker, 49, rose to prominence in the 1990s as a gangster notorious for extortion and violence, who, like many leading Turkish mafia figures, has espoused far-right Turkish nationalist views.

He was in jail from 2005 to 2014 for a range of charges, including forming and leading a criminal organisation.

After his release, Peker became a fervent supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He organised rallies for Erdogan’s AK Party at a time when the president was increasingly embracing Turkish nationalism and the worldview of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose support the AK Party now relies upon for its parliamentary majority.

Peker also threatened critics of the government and said he would “shower” in the blood of academics who had signed a petition in 2016 calling for an end to fighting between the security forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeast Turkish cities.

Yet, he went on to win major business and philanthropy awards.

Peker said he left Turkey in 2020 to avoid prosecution and, after reportedly spending time in Eastern Europe, now claims to be living in the UAE.

The chief public prosecutor’s office in Ankara issued a new arrest warrant for Peker on Wednesday.

He accused the Turkish police of mistreating his wife and daughters in a raid on the family home last month and began posting the videos on May 2.

Peker has broadcast from what is purportedly a hotel in Dubai. Often wearing an open-necked shirt displaying a medallion, Peker is garrulous, eager to drop references to philosophers and writers, and quick to laughter and menacing turns.

He boasted in one video that his enemies “will be defeated by a tripod and a phone camera”.

While he sometimes consulted notes as he spoke, he has not produced documentary evidence to back up any of his claims so far.

Among the most serious allegations is that Mehmet Agar, a former interior minister, was, in the 1990s, behind a series of political killings – including of two renowned journalists – as well as more recent drug trafficking and the illegal acquiring of a marina in an upmarket Aegean resort.

Peker also accused the former minister’s son Tolga Agar, a current AK Party parliamentarian, of involvement in the rape and suspicious death of a Kazakh journalist.

Mehmet termed the allegations “all lies” and welcomed an investigation.

“Neither I nor my son has anything to do with anything illegal or immoral,” he said.

Tolga, rejecting the “slander”, said he did not know the journalist in question, that the death had been investigated and the case closed.

Peker also claimed that Erkan Yilidirm, son of former prime minister Binali Yildirim, went to Venezuela to set up a drug-smuggling route.

Sorgente: Sedat Peker’s case: Videos grip Turkey, rattle government | Recep Tayyip Erdogan News | Al Jazeera

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