Turkish mafia leader exposes more ‘deep state secrets’

Turkish mafia leader exposes more ‘deep state secrets’
The video releases of the exiled mafia boss Sedat Peker are viewed by millions. (Twitter Photo)
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Updated 21 May 2021

Turkish mafia leader exposes more ‘deep state secrets’

Turkish mafia leader exposes more ‘deep state secrets’
  • Interior minister Suleyman Soylu ‘ready for any punishment if ties with exiled organized crime boss are proven’
  • Mafia boss Sedat Peker fled Turkey last year to avoid being prosecuted

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.


Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM
Updated 07 December 2021

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM
  • Egypt has started locally producing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for exporting surpluses to African countries
  • FM Shoukry handed a letter to Senegalese President Macky Sall from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties

CAIRO: Egypt will spare no effort to help African states recover from the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at the seventh session of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.

Egypt has started locally producing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for exporting surpluses to African countries.

Shoukry said the pandemic has impeded efforts to achieve peace and stability on the continent, and has exacerbated humanitarian crises.

It has become impossible to deal with the pandemic solely as a global health crisis, as it has affected all aspects of life, he added. 

Shoukry highlighted issues that Africa should prioritize, including developing a common vision to address shortcomings in the continent’s medical infrastructure, such as dependence on foreign medicines and vaccines.

He also noted the importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism and armed conflicts in Africa by rebuilding societies that have suffered from the scourge of war and conflict.

He praised the selection of Senegal for the African Union presidency from February 2022, and expressed Cairo’s readiness to provide all forms of support to the country in light of Egypt’s experience as president of the bloc in 2019.

Shoukry handed a letter to Senegalese President Macky Sall from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties, as well as issues of common concern.


Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise
Updated 07 December 2021

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise
  • Friendship Bridge 4 is part of Egypt’s plan to carry out joint military training with friendly countries

CAIRO: The Egyptian and Russian navies have launched the joint exercise Friendship Bridge 4, which will last for several days in the Mediterranean.

It began with a ceremony welcoming Russian forces at the Alexandria Naval Base in the presence of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed, who delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries’ navies.

Friendship Bridge 4 is part of Egypt’s plan to carry out joint military training with friendly countries.

 Meanwhile, the armed forces of Egypt and Jordan concluded their joint exercise Aqaba-6. The training, which took place in Jordan, included a joint operation to eliminate an armed terrorist outpost inside a border village, and the interception of a merchant ship.


Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation
Updated 07 December 2021

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation
  • A Beirut court rejected the last of the suits preventing Tarek Bitar from questioning top officials

BEIRUT: The probe into last year’s deadly Beirut port blast has been cleared to resume after being suspended for more than a month on legal claims against its lead investigator, judge Tarek Bitar, a judicial source said.
A Beirut court rejected the last of the suits preventing Bitar from questioning top officials on Tuesday.
“They have reversed the decision that had led to the suspension of the probe and he can now resume his work for sure,” Nizar Saghieh, head of the Legal Agenda, a research and advocacy organization, told Reuters.
The resumption could be temporary should further legal complaints be filed, he said.
The investigation into the Aug. 4, 2020, blast that killed more than 215 people, injured thousands and destroyed large swathes of the city has made little headway amid pushback from powerful factions, some of whom lead smear campaigns and filed multiple suits against Bitar.
The leader of the Iranian-backed, armed Shiite Muslim political movement Hezbollah has repeatedly said he wanted Bitar removed from the case and the row over him has spilled over into government, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet unable to meet since Oct. 12.
Many Lebanese are angry that more than one year on from the blast no senior official has been held accountable for the country’s worst peace-time disaster as it slips into political and economic meltdown.
Bitar has sought to question senior politicians, including former ministers and members of parliament, since July but nearly all have spurned him.
He is the second judge to take charge of the investigation after a legal complaint against the partiality of his predecessor Fady Sawan saw him removed in February.


Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4
Updated 07 December 2021

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

BASRA: At least four people were killed and 20 wounded in an explosion in Iraq's southern city of Basra, police and hospital sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Police are still investigating the cause of the blast, which took place in the city centre, near a main hospital. The explosion set fire to at least one vehicle and damaged a minibus.
One police source said that an initial investigation showed that a motorcycle rigged with explosives could have been the cause of the blast. 


UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed

UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed
Updated 07 December 2021

UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed

UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed
  • It is the first polymer banknote to be circulated in the country
  • The current 50- dirham note will continue to be used

DUBAI: UAE rulers witnessed the launch of a new 50-dirham banknote on Tuesday, in celebration of the country’s 50th National Day. 
The initiative comes in honor of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, and the country’s first generation of rulers to commemorate their dedication and historical role in uniting the country.
It is the first polymer banknote to be circulated in the country.
“We see in this issuance the new phase that UAE will enter, and a renewed pledge to continue its growth path. The occasion also allowed us to express our appreciation and gratitude to our founding fathers by issuing a new AED50 banknote to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the UAE,” said Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of the UAE. 
The front of the new banknote features a portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed on the right, and the memorial picture of the founding fathers after signing the union document. 
Meanwhile, the back side includes a picture of the late Sheikh Zayed signing the union agreement as well as illustration of the Etihad Museum, which witnessed the establishment of the union and the raising of the UAE flag for the first time.
According to state news agency WAM, the new banknote will be available in Central Bank branches and ATMs ‘in the near future’.
The current 50- dirham note will continue to be used.
Polymer banknotes are said to be more durable and sustainable than traditional cotton paper banknotes, lasting two or more times longer in circulation. They can also be completely recycled, thus reducing their environmental footprint.