Erdoğan declares war against organized crime

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged to fight organized crime syndicates, adamant that he would not let mob bosses threaten the atmosphere of peace and security in the country.

Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Erdoğan expressed solidarity with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, as he said the recent attacks he has been facing directly target security in the country.

“Turkey will thwart these plots and will bring organized crime bosses to Turkey to face justice,” the president said, in reference to a series of statements made by fugitive mob boss Sedat Peker, who has been releasing a series of videos in which he speaks about his organization and makes allegations about Turkish officials.

Erdoğan continued by saying that the fact that Peker also targeted former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s son also indicates that he is disturbed about the atmosphere of peace in the country.

“We are following all criminals wherever they go in the world,” he said, adding that the Turkish judiciary will investigate all the “lies and slander” and will make its findings public.

Soylu filed an additional criminal complaint with the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor, demanding Peker be charged with “insulting and slander” for his comments made about the interior minister.

Turkish police detained Peker’s brother on Sunday after Peker said he sent him on a failed mission to kill a Turkish Cypriot journalist 25 years ago on the orders of a former Turkish minister.

Organized crime police detained Atilla Peker and a personal guard at a rented house in the Aegean province of Muğla, broadcaster NTV said.

Peker, 49, rose to prominence in the 1990s as an underworld figure. He fled from Romania to Turkey in 1998 when two men, who were allegedly members of his gang, were convicted of murder. He was arrested in Turkey in late 1998 but released in 1999. He was once again sentenced for mob-related crimes in 2007.

Peker’s name came up again in the infamous Ergenekon trials when prosecutors and police officers linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) imprisoned the group’s critics in sham trials. He was sentenced to 10 years but was released in 2014. In recent years, he became a prominent social media personality, gaining a sizeable following.

He initially fled to Montenegro but ended up traveling back and forth between Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro. He then fled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the country does not have an extradition treaty with Ankara.