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Turkey’s main opposition files criminal complaint over recent revelations by mafia boss

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Muharrem Erkek, a lawmaker from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), filed a criminal complaint on behalf of his party on Monday against individuals accused in revelations made by mafia boss Sedat Peker, who on Saturday recounted the inner workings of a corruption network involving an advisor of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish media reported.

Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who has been making shocking revelations since early 2021 about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials and their family members, unveiled a new series of allegations from his Twitter handle on Saturday, revealing a network of bribery and corruption in Turkey’s stock exchange.

Peker said Erdoğan advisor Serkan Taranoğlu, former Capital Markets Board (SPK) chair Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Zehra Taşkesenlioğlu and pro-government daily Hürriyet columnist Burak Taşçı were all involved in the operation of the bribery network extorting the owners of companies that are listed on the stock exchange.

Peker claimed that Taranoğlu and Taşkesenlioğlu demanded a bribe of 12 million lira ($660,000 as of Aug. 29, 2022) from Mine Tozlu Sineren, the owner of Marka Investment Holding, for processing her company’s request to issue new shares through increasing capital. Sineren corroborated Peker’s allegations in a live broadcast and said no action has been taken by the authorities despite her complaints.

No government official has yet issued any statement concerning the allegations, and no investigation has been launched.

Following Peker’s allegations, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu announced that they would file a criminal complaint for the allegations to be investigated.

On Monday, a delegation headed by Erkek and comprising CHP deputies Ali Haydar Hakverdi, Levent Gök, Murat Emir, Faruk Sarıaslan and Bülent Tezcan appeared at the Ankara Courthouse and filed a criminal complaint against the subjects of the allegations.

Nearly three out of every four people in Turkey think corruption has become more widespread over the past two years, according to a survey by global watchdog Transparency International.

The country was shaken by two corruption investigations implicating then-prime minister and current president Erdoğan’s inner circle that became public Dec.17-25, 2013. Erdoğan’s AKP government subsequently suppressed the scandal by creating special criminal courts headed by a single judge, thanks to the AKP’s parliamentary majority.

These judges then jailed all the police and prosecutors who had conducted the 2013 corruption investigations, while Erdoğan and his family members who were implicated have never appeared in court.

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