Mobster transforms Turkey with a video cracking against political elites

With a smile on his face and a gold medallion shining on his chest, fugitive gangster Sedat Peker who was deported to Turkey made explosive accusations sent by political elites in a series of YouTube videos.

Peker, who has been jailed for a decade in Turkey for his involvement in organized crime and who is now wanted for a group of criminals, broadcast from a rented room he said was in Dubai. In seven videos viewed a total of 55m times, he dropped the bombing charge that some government officials or members of their families were involved in drug dealing, rape and murder.

Peker did not include president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom he called Tayyip fresh, or “brother”, but his allegations of corruption and back-stabbing within the leader’s entire interior have been marred by the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), which seized power two decades ago. promise to cut control of organized crime politics.

The mobster began his video attack earlier this month after a raid on his home in Istanbul in April in which he said police harassed his wife and daughter.

This week, Erdogan broke his silence to slam Peker’s claims as part of a long-running plot by the shadow foreign forces to undermine his rule. “We made Turkey, where it’s called infants [godfathers] Known by the famous nicknames that once swaggered, a place where the law is the only way, ”he said in a televised speech.

Peker points out that the AKP got on its back foot at a time when its approval rating was at a record low in its management of the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn. The election will be held in 2023.

“Filming the administration’s dirty laundry could lead to a loss of public confidence that there is a residual ideology in the Erdogan camp,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkey program at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy.

Peker’s tapes reveal it’s about self -enrichment, nepotism and mafia relationships. Erdogan ran Turkey but he didn’t lead it, and lost the aura of stability. Turkey is like a house of cards. ”

Part of the art of making, part of the confession, the videos show what Peker sees between banter and bellowing. He provided little evidence for his unsupported claims-among them that the son of a prime minister was looking for a new route to sell cocaine from Latin America to Turkey; an AKP lawmaker raped a university student who was later found dead; and that Peker keeps an MP on a $ 10,000 monthly retainer.

“I would point out unarmed bullies are more dangerous than someone facing death,” Peker tweeted in a teaser for a video, in which he said: “You will lose on a tripod and a phone camera. “

Much of his anger was directed at Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu. Peker admitted that he aided Soylu against the rival group within the AKP led by Albayrak emphasizes, Erdogan’s son -in -law, who resigned as finance minister last year.

He said Soylu provided him with security and handed him over to a friend so he could avoid arrest, but canceled an agreement that allowed him to return to Turkey after more than a year of running.

Soylu appeared on talk shows to refute all the allegations against her and denied, or said she did not know, the points of others. He filed a complaint against Peker for defamation. Erdogan defended Soylu, saying the attack was aimed at the entire country.

Sedat Peker’s seven videos were viewed a total of 55m times © Islam Yakut / Anadolu / Getty

Peker’s claims offer a rare glimpse behind the curtain of politics in a country where the media is tightly controlled by the government.

“People are rushing to these videos because the government has created an environment where criticism is prohibited [and] The man it does makes a fool of the interior minister, who is feared by all, ”said Umit Kivanc, a filmary film-maker and journalist.

The AKP’s partnership with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over the past half decade has spurred crime numbers involving ultranationalists. The MHP leader was photographed with another mafia leader last year after successfully petitioning for his release from prison.

Peker ages a right-wing group of young people with the MHP and his nationalist credentials that resonate with Turkish patriots. “He can show this thing and not have to face a blowback because he’s a lover on the far right. If they really chase him, it can separate the rank and file within the MHP,” Ryan said. Gingeras, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in California and author of a book on organized crime in Turkey.

“People see politics as tied to organized crime in Turkey because gangsters like Sedat Peker don’t get away from the spotlight,” he added. “He’s actually a famous man with a political agenda with a criminal record.”

Peker cut his teeth as a extortionist and by fixing football matches, according to Gingeras. His rap sheet dates back to the 1990s, when newspapers reported that he decorated the walls of his cell with oil paintings and had washing machines and Roquefort cheese brought to prison. He was tried and acquitted of murder, but was convicted in 2007 of founding a crime syndicate and released seven years later.

A year later, he was already in the campaign for the AKP, telling a rally he was “bathed in blood” by intellectuals who signed a petition urging an end to the fight with Kurdish militants. Months later he was photographed by the president at a wedding and he earned awards as businessman and philanthropist of the year.

Peker has now apologized to intellectuals and complained that politicians are taking advantage of nationalism to “alienate us from each other”. Telling the videos that he also involved himself in a series of violations, such as arranging for a voter to be hit by a Turkish Cypriot journalist who was killed by others, “the bones were broken. “in a former AKP parliamentarian for insulting Erdogan’s wife and organizing the robbers. to attack a newspaper office at the request of an AKP lawmaker.

While the accusations have satisfied Erdogan’s critics, they have dredged trauma for the victims. After Peker blamed an internal interior minister for the unsolved murder of journalist Ugur Mumcu in 1993, his widow Guldal tweeted: “Lay the bricks, may the wall collapse and bury whoever is caught under it. “

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