Turkey gripped by mafia boss' corruption allegations

'Better than The Sopranos': Turkey gripped by mafia boss' corruption allegations
3 min read
24 May, 2021
Former mob boss Sedat Peker has alleged widespread corruption among top government officials, saying a deep state remains in the country.
Sedat Peker is believed to be residing in the UAE after fleeing Turkey last year [Getty]

Turkish police arrested on Sunday the brother of an infamous mafia boss whose video allegations of high-level corruption have racked up millions of views on YouTube and become the highest-rated TV show on IMDb.

Turkey's organised crime police force detained the brother of a mafia chief who had claimed he was involved in a 1996 plot to assassinate a Turkish Cypriot journalist, according to Reuters.

In a YouTube video released on Sunday and watched by more than seven million people, Sedat Peker claimed his brother, Attila, had been dispatched by a former interior minister to kill the journalist and politician Kutlu Adli. The plot failed, Sedat said, although Adli was killed later that year.

Although authorities have acted on some of his claims by arresting his brother, other allegations strike deep in the heart of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not among those named as being part of the alleged deep state.

Turkish authorities blocked access to Peker's website last week, although his videos remain available on YouTube where they have been watched more than 40 million times.

An IMDb entry titled "Sedat Peker vs AKP" became the film and television database's highest-ratest TV show on Sunday, with one user review declaring the videos to be "better than 'The Sopranos'".

"A mafia leader with deep connections to the government is ousted and his house raided. Now he is seeking revenge against the ones done [sic] him wrong by exposing the dark connections between the mafia and the government," the page's description read before it was removed from the website on Monday.

Peker is currently believed to be residing in the UAE after fleeing Turkey in 2019. 

In a video released on 13 May, the convicted mafia boss alleged he left the country after being tipped off by former Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu about a pending criminal investigation against him.

Peker was formerly imprisoned in Turkey between 1998-9 and 2007-15 for setting up a criminal organisation among other charges. 

None of his claims have been corroborated.

Gulen accusations

Peker has also accused top officials and criminals of falsely accusing individuals of being members of a banned terrorist organisation in order to blackmail them or seize their properties. 

Thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Fethullah Gulen since a 2016 coup attempt that Ankara blames on the exiled cleric. Turkey accuses Gulen of running a terrorist organisation.

For many in Turkey, Peker's videos are a return to the '90s when a fateful car crash unveiled links between the state and organised crime.

Criminal complaints have been filed against Peker and other individuals named in the videos since their release began two weeks ago.

On Monday, prosecutors announced former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar, who Peker named in the video, would again face trial over the enforced disappearance of 19 people.

In the meantime, millions of viewers await the eighth episode of "Sedat Peker vs AKP".