ANKARA: Sedat Peker, the ultranationalist Turkish mafia leader now living in Dubai, has released more bombshell video recordings that shed light on the close ties between state, media and mafia structures, with Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu at the center of the dirty revelations of deep state secrets.
On Wednesday, Peker, who is seeking revenge on his past companions, asserted that pro-government journalist Hadi Ozisik mediated between Peker and Soylu, prompting Turkish citizens to call the government to account.
Peker also claimed that Soylu assigned him with security details and jammers before he left Turkey, and warned him about an approaching investigation.
The mafia boss fled Turkey last year to avoid being prosecuted, shortly before his rival Alaattin Cakici was released from prison as part of the amnesty law.
In his video releases Peker admitted that he was the mastermind behind a mob attack on Turkish newspaper Hurriyet in 2015 upon the request of a lawmaker from the ruling government to stop the daily’s critical coverage about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The lawmaker said, ‘A group from our youth branch will go to the newspaper’s building, but they are not professional. Can you dispatch your men?’ I accepted and sent them,” Peker said.
It is claimed that the attack was a turning point in the decision of Hurriyet’s boss, Aydin Dogan, to sell his company’s media assets to a pro-government conglomerate, Demiroren.
For his part, Soylu, who filed a criminal complaint against Peker over his accusations, pledged that he “was ready for every kind of punishment, including death penalty” if his ties with the mafia leader were proven.
Soylu’s war of words with Peker, saying “he is helpless and shameless by taking refuge behind his wife’s underwear” during an interview with state broadcaster TRT, drew anger from women’s rights groups.
Peker claimed that the male police officers searched his wife’s underwear drawers during the raid rather than assigning female officers to do that.
The opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) insists that Turkish interior minister reveal which deputy receives $10,000 each month from Peker, after Soylu claimed on Thursday that the mafia boss sends money to a lawmaker without giving any name.
“If this person is still a lawmaker, we should remove his parliamentary immunity immediately!” tweeted CHP Deputy Chair Ozgur Ozel.
Turkish citizens have called on the judiciary to investigate the revelations.
Suleyman Irvan, an academic of communication from Uskudar University, said this latest revelation made crystal-clear the close ties between some journalists and mafia leaders.
Irvan also noted that the media channels closely associated with the government did not have the courage to cover the latest revelations.
“For instance, the daily Hurriyet, although it was the subject of a mob attack by the mafia leader, did not cover the statements of Peker. Hopefully there are still a handful independent media that keep the citizens informed about the latest developments that interest them,” he said.
In an interview on the independent Medyascope news channel, prominent journalist Murat Yetkin said: “It is impossible for the government to remain silent over the video releases of Peker as a boundary has been passed.”
In 2016, Peker threatened dissident academics in Turkey to “bath them in their own blood” and declared them terrorists.
A year later, he won an award for “the most charitable businessperson” from the pro-government daily Milliyet.
The video releases of the exiled mafia boss, who enjoys complete free speech, with no ban on his private YouTube channel, are viewed by millions.
In his previous videos, Peker accused some senior bureaucrats and lawmakers affiliated with the government of rape, murder and drug smuggling.