Guns, murders, drugs: the mafia godfather Sedat Peker attacks the Turkish government and reveals alleged machinations of the Erdoğan district. That also puts the president in trouble.
He is a convicted murderer, lives in exile and is wanted by international arrest warrant. Still, Sedat Peker has become a star in Turkey. In his videos, the mafia boss reveals explosive details about allegedly illegal activities by leading members of the Turkish government. He tells of connections between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s confidants and the underworld.
The monologues, which last more than an hour, are about drugs, weapons and murder. Peker is sitting at a table with an unbuttoned shirt and a gold necklace, rumbling and sometimes screaming. In doing so, he hits the nerve of the Turkish population, who have long had the feeling that they are also ruled by corrupt politicians.
The alleged revelations by the mafia boss are increasingly troubling the Turkish president and his government. Although he is a supporter of Erdoğan, Peker wants to use his knowledge to extort impunity for himself. The President and the AKP are hesitant to react. Your problem: Peker has inside knowledge, was close to high-ranking politicians and is popular with the citizens.
- Vengeance campaign from exile
- Underworld network in Turkey
- Erdoğan (left) and Binali Yildirim are considered close confidants: There are also allegations by Peker against the son of the former prime minister. (Source: imago images)
- What is behind the attacks by Peker?
- “I’ll show it to the whole world”
- Attack on Erdoğan
- Soylu: a “mafia bastard”
Vengeance campaign from exile
Its popularity is also related to the entertainment value of its YouTube videos. His allegations sound like something out of a crime series. But the protagonist of the videos is real: Sedat Peker, 49 years old, a well-known figure in organized crime. He himself has been convicted several times, including for fraud and the formation of a criminal organization. He fled Turkey last year to avoid prosecution and now lives – as he himself says – in the United Arab Emirates.
Review of 2004: Sedat Peker is escorted out of the court by two police officers. The police discovered evidence of football betting fraud. (Source: imago images)
At the beginning of May, Peker began his campaign of revenge against the Turkish government. So far, the Turkish godfather has put eight videos online. Each is about an hour long. And what Peker says in it casts a spell over the Turks. His last video from last Sunday alone was viewed more than 14 million times.
Underworld network in Turkey
The allegations are tough: Peker paints a picture of Turkey as a country ruled by the mafia. Again and again he speaks of the “deep state”, which is said to be responsible for numerous murders of Kurds, opposition politicians, leftists and journalists. It’s about a network between politics, security agencies and the underworld. His allegations are also directed against close confidants of Erdoğan, in particular against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.
An overview of the most explosive revelations:
- Politicians in Erdoğan’s orbit would abuse their power for illegal business.
- Peker throws the son of the former head of government Binali Yildirim– Founded having established international drug trafficking routes. He is said to have brought cocaine to Turkey via container ships.
- The former Minister of the Interior Mehmet agar he accused of being implicated in the 1993 murder of well-known investigative journalist Uğur Mumcu. “Reporters Without Borders” is now calling for the case to be reopened.
- But Peker particularly takes home ministers Soylu in his sights, which he calls a rat. Peker accuses him of first offering his protection and then betraying him.
- Peker claims to have helped Soylu with a campaign when the interior minister temporarily resigned due to the poorly organized corona curfew in April 2020. Erdoğan was then able to use him again.
- Soylu also had his followers promoted to judges and prosecutors.
- In his eighth video, Peker talks about Sedat, a private security and military company also known as “Erdoğan’s Shadow Army” referred to as. With the help of Sedat, the mafia boss claims to have delivered weapons, vehicles and clothing to the al-Nusra Front, the Syrian offshoot of al-Qaeda, during the war in Syria.
Erdoğan (left) and Binali Yildirim are considered close confidants: There are also allegations by Peker against the son of the former prime minister. (Source: imago images)
What is behind the attacks by Peker?
With the alleged arms deliveries to radical Islamists in Syria, Peker also attacks Erdoğan personally for the first time. The accusation hits the Turkish President at a sensitive point. In the past, he had numerous journalists such as Can Dündar arrested and convicted of “terrorist propaganda” for reporting on Turkish support for the Islamists.
It is to be understood as an attempt by Pekers to tighten the thumbscrews on the president and his government. He wants to go back to Turkey, back to his family and without going to jail. But only Erdoğan can pronounce an amnesty. He did that last year for the mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı, who was also behind bars for contract killing and leading a criminal organization. Reason: The danger to overcrowded prisons is great due to the corona pandemic.
Süleyman Soylu: The Turkish interior minister is at the center of Beijing’s criticism. (Source: Reuters)
On the one hand, Peker needs the president for impunity, on the other hand, the mafia boss is an admirer of the Turkish president. Both share an ultra-national ideology and a neo-Ottoman vision for Turkey. In his videos he calls Erdoğan “brother Tayyip”, this affection is not just a means to an end for Peker.
It looks different with Süleyman Soylu. In his videos, Peker disparagingly calls him “the beautiful Suleyman” and indirectly criticizes the interior minister for positioning himself as Erdoğan’s successor. According to the mafia boss, Soylu first offered him his protection and then betrayed him – so the criminal now promises to “destroy” him.
“I’ll show it to the whole world”
His obvious campaign of revenge raises doubts about Peker’s credibility, the mafia boss has not yet presented any evidence to support his allegations. In his most recent video, however, he threatens it and also offers to be hooked up to a polygraph. “When the machine beeps, I hit my head,” said the 49-year-old. “We’re going to talk about clear evidence in the next video. I’m going to show the whole world.” With this, the mafia boss continues to increase the pressure.
Again, Peker has few reasons not to tell the truth. He is in exile, in the worst case for him until the end of his life – so he has little to lose. It is also known that connections between politics and the underworld have a long tradition in Turkey. For decades, an alliance of the military, right-wing extremist thugs and criminal organizations dominated the course of the country. One thing is certain: Peker is a key witness for many of the events of the last 30 years, he was one of the defining figures of the underworld.
Attack on Erdoğan
Whether this pressure will have any effect on Turkish politics and whether Peker will receive an amnesty still seems unlikely. Of course, the government has to fear further revelations, hardly anyone knows what the mafia boss will unpack next. But the videos are an indirect attack on Erdoğan himself, even if Peker may not mean them that way.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: The Turkish President is defending his interior minister against attacks by Mafia boss Peker. (Source: Reuters)
It is unlikely that he will give in. The Turkish president had always made it his mission to clean up corruption and the mafia. Peker is living proof that didn’t work. After a long silence, Erdoğan said of the videos on Wednesday: “Just as we have fended off other attacks on our country, we will also destroy this plot.”
The head of state vigorously defended the successes of his government and, in particular, of his interior minister Soylu in the fight against organized crime. “For 19 years we have been destroying one criminal group after another,” he said. And as a possible warning to Peker this sentence could be understood: “We follow criminal gang members wherever in the world they flee.”
Soylu: a “mafia bastard”
Therefore Turkey wrote Peker again for a wanted man and the public prosecutor issued a new arrest warrant – this time also in connection with terrorist allegations. The other politicians who were targeted by the Mafia boss reject the allegations. In the front row Interior Minister Soylu, who berated Peker on Twitter as a “Mafia bastard”. A journalist from the state news agency Anadolu has already felt that the government is in turmoil. He approached two ministers last week about Peking’s allegations and was fired that same day.
The allegations come at an inopportune time for the Turkish president. The lira continues to fall, Turkey is struggling with an economic crisis and high unemployment. In a survey by the opinion research institute Metropoll, the AKP only came to 26.6 percent. That is the worst value since Erdoğan’s first election victory over 18 years ago. The revelations of the mafia boss are now threatening a state crisis that the president absolutely wants to avoid.
Sedat Peker plays all of this into the cards. The Turkish population is waiting for the next chapter in the crime series.