Turkish court issues arrest warrant for mafia boss who angered gov’t

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An İstanbul court has issued an arrest warrant for mafia boss Sedat Peker, whose revelations about the shady relations between the country’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and mafia groups have angered the ruling party.

The arrest warrant for Peker was issued after an indictment concerning the activities of his crime group was accepted by a high criminal court in İstanbul on Monday. Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left Turkey last year following the publication of a report related to arms trafficking to Syria that was allegedly carried out under the guise of humanitarian aid. He is currently living in the UAE.

Ninety-two suspects are named in the 241-page indictment, 26 of whom are currently in jail. The court also issued an arrest warrant for Peker’s driver, U.Y. The trial is expected to start soon.

Peker faces an aggravated life sentence and an additional sentence of between 262 years, eight months to 392 years, four months on various charges including establishing and running a crime organization, incitement to premeditated murder and causing injury by firearms. Other defendants in the indictment face jail sentences on various lengths.

Peker has been sending shockwaves across the country since early May through scandalous revelations he has been making on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating former and current state officials and their family members.

Since June, the mafia leader has been making his claims on Twitter instead of YouTube since officials in the UAE, where he is currently living, told him not to release any more YouTube videos defaming politicians in another country.

The officials also forbade Peker from posting tweets about Turkish politicians and bureaucrats’ alleged involvement in drug trafficking.

Peker’s claims are wide-ranging. He alleges that former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s son is involved in international drug trafficking; that the government smuggled arms to jihadist groups in Syria through SADAT, a paramilitary organization established by a former adviser to Erdoğan, by using Peker’s humanitarian aid trucks as a proxy; that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and his inner circle are blackmailing people with bogus charges of terrorism links; and much more.

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