Drug trafficking and murder: Mafia boss unpacks about Erdogan’s government – politics abroad

Drug trafficking, the amalgamation of politics and the underworld, unsolved murder cases – a fleeting mafia boss keeps spreading explosive material on YouTube.

Can the godfather also bring Turkish President Erdogan into trouble?

The mafia boss is sitting in the conference room of a hotel, his black shirt is unbuttoned and a gold chain shimmers in front of his chest. Millions of Turks look spellbound at this man when he publishes another YouTube video.

Photo: OZAN KOSE/AFP

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Mafia boss Sedat Peker lives in exile in DubaiPhoto: OZAN KOSE/AFP

Sedat Peker, with a previous conviction for forming a criminal organization and suspected of being in exile in Dubai, has published seven videos since the beginning of May. In it he raises serious allegations against the environment of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He attributes links to organized crime to politicians and their relatives. It is about alleged drug trafficking and unsolved murders.

Peker is a dazzling figure and actually appeared in the past as a particularly martial supporter of Erdogan. In 2016 he threatened academics critical of the government that he would bathe in their blood.

Erdogan himself has so far not attacked Peker in his videos, he even calls him “Tayyip abi” – his “brother”. According to observers, the publications point to domestic power struggles, but they are also increasingly becoming a problem for the president.

Peker directs his main attacks against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, whom he mockingly calls the “pretty Süleyman” or “Sülo” – and against Mehmet Agar, who was first police chief and then interior minister in the 1990s and is close to the government.

▶ ︎ Peker made particularly explosive allegations in his seventh video. In it he accused the son of the former prime minister and Erdogan’s confidante Binali Yildirim involvement in international drug smuggling – the ex-prime minister firmly rejected it.

▶︎ Peker accused the former Interior Minister Agar of being involved in the still unsolved murders of the Turkish journalist Ugur Mumcu and the Turkish Cypriot author Kutlu Adali in the 1990s.

<img class="photo ondemand zoomable" src="https://bilder.bild.de/fotos-skaliert/der-mafia-boss-erklaerte-es-gebe-auch-heute-noch-eine-verbindung-der-erdogan-regierung-zur-unterwelt-932284be17344212b52a364888b9133a-76545882/2,w=1280,c=0.bild.jpg" width="1280" alt="Der Mafia-Boss erklärte, es gebe auch heute noch eine Verbindung der Erdogan-regierung zur Unterwelt" data-zoom-title="Der Mafia-Boss erklärte, es gebe auch heute noch eine Verbindung der Erdogan-Regierung zur Unterwelt

Photo: OZAN KOSE/AFP

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The mafia boss said that there is still a connection between the Erdogan government and the underworldPhoto: OZAN KOSE/AFP

Erdogan is keeping a low profile, but the scandal is damaging him

Erdogan has not yet responded directly to Peker. However, he recently stressed that his government, which has been in power since 2002, has already successfully cracked down on “gangs” in the past. In fact, the authorities cracked down on suspected members of the Pekers gang in April.

The mafia boss now suggests with his statements that the amalgamation of underworld and politics still exists.

Interior Minister Soylu protected him for a long time and warned against investigations, says Peker, for example. Last but not least, he went abroad on Soylu’s tip. Last year he also supported a Twitter campaign that Soylu initiated with fake accounts in order to stay in office. At the time, Soylu announced his resignation due to the chaos surrounding a corona curfew, but Erdogan rejected the request after protests on Twitter – and Soylu stayed in office.

While the head of state has so far remained rather vague, the interior minister has used far more drastic words. He rejected all of Peker’s allegations – and called him a “mafia bastard”.

The Peker videos come at an extremely inconvenient time for Erdogan. In view of high unemployment and record inflation, his polls are already on the decline. Even now, Erdogan’s Islamic-conservative ruling party, the AKP, does not have a majority in parliament without the support of the ultra-nationalist MHP. Soylu, on the other hand, is popular with their voters.

In any case, the videos embarrassed Erdogan and weakened him, says Berk Esen, political scientist at Sabanci University. After all, his interior minister is in a feud with a mafia boss.

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