Turkish police have detained a total of 171 organized crime suspects as part of an İstanbul-based operation carried out in eight provinces across the country, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
The early Friday operation simultaneously conducted in Antalya, Muğla, Mersin, Balıkesir, Adana, Aydın and İzmir provinces in addition to İstanbul targeted 171 people suspected to be operating in organized crime groups in Turkey’s Aegean and the Mediterranean regions.
Police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Unit in İstanbul raided locations in multiple districts including Sultangazi and Beşiktaş, Anadolu said, adding that they detained 21 suspects in Friday’s operation.
Among the suspects were an organized crime boss identified as Kemal C. and his cronies, who were found to be engaging in criminal activities including theft, extortion and loan sharking and were involved in establishing an organized crime group, Anadolu said.
After undergoing medical checks, the suspects were taken to the İstanbul Police Department for questioning.
The operation comes at a time when Sedat Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has since early May been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he posts on YouTube, each of which reaches over a million viewers on the first day of their release.
The mafia boss, who lives in Dubai and is the subject of an outstanding warrant in Turkey, has been making shocking revelations about state-mafia relations and drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials.