Prison sentence sought for mafia boss for insulting senior AKP politician’s son

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A prosecutor has sought up to six years, four months in prison for mafia boss Sedat Peker on charges of insulting and slandering Erkam Yıldırım, the son of senior ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politician Binali Yıldırım, in a video post, Turkish media outlets reported on Tuesday.

An indictment drafted by the Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office after completing the investigation launched upon a complaint by Erkam Yıldırım’s lawyer, Muhammed Gök, was accepted by the Anadolu 47th Criminal Court of First Instance. Peker will be tried in absentia starting in January unless Turkey manages to secure his extradition from the UAE.

In a video posted on YouTube on May 23, Peker claimed that former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s son made several trips to Caracas in January and February of this year to establish a new drug route after nearly five tons of cocaine were seized last year in Colombia.

Binali Yıldırım responded by claiming that his son, who runs a shipping company, only visited Venezuela to personally deliver COVID-19 tests and protective equipment to the Venezuelan people.

According to the indictment, an examination of the overseas travel records of the Yıldırım family obtained from the İstanbul Police Department as well as the family’s flight tickets for the period in question submitted by the claimant’s lawyer has revealed that Erkam Yıldırım had not been to Venezuela as Peker claimed.

“The suspect, Sedat Peker, made some abstract allegations that claimant Erkam Yıldırım had illegal ties with certain individuals to set up an international drug smuggling route. Based on the data provided by the claimant’s lawyer as well as the official records obtained, the falsehood of this scheme, including the time frame when the claimant was purportedly abroad to commit the alleged crime, is obvious,” the indictment said.

Peker’s slanderous and denigrating statements cannot be considered to be protected by freedom of speech, the indictment stated.

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, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials.

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