Anonymous government official quoted by BBC Turkish confirms some of Sedat Peker’s claims

Mafia boss Sedat Peker’s YouTube videos have caused a big crisis in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a government official is quoted as saying by BBC Turkish service.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said some of the claims he made had already been known in government circles.

Releasing videos on YouTube since early May, Peker has been making serious allegations against current and former government officials, including corruption, international drug trafficking, seizure of property and political assassinations.

Some of his high-profile targets are Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, former Minister of Interior Mehmet Ağar, his son and AKP deputy Tolga Ağar and Erkam Yıldırım, the son of former PM Binali Yıldırım.

Previously convicted of leading a criminal organization, Peker left the country in late 2019, after, according to his claims, he was informed by Minister Soylu about an investigation against him.

Peker says Soylu had promised him that he would safely return to the country in April. However, on April 9, police carried out large-scale raids in eight cities as part of an investigation into an alleged criminal group led by Peker.

Peker’s villa in Beykoz, İstanbul was among the houses raided. His spouse Özge Peker said after the operation that police officers had pointed rifles at her and her two daughters, which was, according to Sedat Peker, the reason for making all these revelations.

There were initially no women police officers in the police team that raided the house, according to Pekers.

“I’ll set the world on fire for my two daughters,” he said multiple times in his videos.

Soylu denied the claims and released a part of the footage recorded by police during the raid.

However, the government official refuted Soylu, saying that “It is actually known that things that humiliated the family occurred during that operation, such as pointing a weapon at Peker’s child.”

The seizure of a marina and its use for drug trafficking

Another claim confirmed by the official was the seizure of a luxury marina in Yalıkavak in the popular holiday resort of Bodrum, Muğla.

Mübariz Mansimov, a businessperson from Azerbaijan, had to sell the marina for only 29 million dollars after he was prosecuted for being a member of the “Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ),” an Islamic group held responsible for the 2016 coup attempt.

Former Minister Ağar now heads the board of the company that operates the marina.

Peker says it was Ağar who had introduced Mansimov to Fetullah Gülen and he now uses the marina for drug smuggling to the Middle East.

“We were always hearing that Ağar was adding more to his wealth by such businesses. The claims about that marina, which is very valuable, are correct,” BBC Turkish quoted the official as saying. “The allegation is current. They did that to take over the marina.”

He said that it was already being talked about within the party that the marina was taken over by an operation initiated by Azerbaijan’s President İlham Aliyev and the “FETÖ” allegation against Mansimov was not correct.

Peker claimed in a video that Soylu had started a “false investigation” against the head of the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) and his spouse for “being a FETÖ member.”

The official quoted by BBC confirmed this claim as well and said the operation was part of the tensions between Soylu and Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, who was the finance minister at the time.

Soylu had initiated the investigation because the MASAK was affiliated with the Finance Ministry, he said.

“Everything depends on Erdoğan”

While Peker’s videos have drawn tens of millions of views and become the main talking point in the country, President Erdoğan has been mostly silent about the issue.

He only touched on the topic once, when said on May 17 that “As those who avoid condemning the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] are walking on the same path with gangs, I’d like to remind this: Criminal gangs are like a venomous snake. If you are in the same sack with them, you consent to what will happen to you afterward.”

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