Turkish mafia leader claims AKP members secretly armed themselves in the wake of failed coup

Sedat Peker's accusation has sparked fears among the population about Erdogan, who continues to lose popularity
A photograph taken on 26 May 2021 in Istanbul shows Sedat Peker speaking on his YouTube channel on a mobile phone.

AFP/OZAN KOSE  -   A photograph taken on 26 May 2021 in Istanbul shows Sedat Peker speaking on his YouTube channel on a mobile phone

Almost two months ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government issued an arrest warrant for Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker, following a request from the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office. At the time, Peker had released new videos implicating deputies of the AKP (Justice and Development Party), the president's party, in his criminal network. Now, he is again claiming that the same party has been secretly arming itself in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016, launching a new dagger at Turkey's increasingly weak government.

These new accusations once again cast doubt on Erdogan and have led to a growing sense of mistrust among the Turkish population towards his own government, which has been losing popularity among the public for months. Doubts about how far the president is willing to go to retain power are growing among the Turkish population and threaten the security of the country, which has never enjoyed great stability due, among other things, to Erdogan's disastrous management of foreign policy.

Sedat Peker enjoyed favourable treatment from certain members of the AKP, but was apparently ousted as a result of internal power struggles within the government ranks. His fight against Erdogan's party after sidelining him is fierce and he is accusing Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu of "coordinating" the distribution of unregistered weapons in the state. The mobster described in extensive detail how he allegedly took a crate of AK-47 rifles from Esenyurt, a suburb of Istanbul, to the Balat neighbourhood in the old heart of the city in August 2016.

El presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan
PHOTO/REUTERS - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

According to the Turkish mafia leader's Twitter account, the weapons were delivered to Osman Tomakin, the current chairman of the AKP's youth branches in Istanbul. These new allegations have come on top of an increase in the number of weapons whose location is unknown and an exponential growth in individual weaponry across the country. However, prosecutors have not commented, preferring not to investigate Peker's long-running allegations for the time being.

Mehmet Tum, a former legislator from the main opposition Republican People's Party, has also weighed in on the issue, noting that there has been a staggering increase in the count of weapons lost or stolen from the Interior Ministry in the wake of the coup attempt. He used reports from the Ministry itself to demonstrate the absence of a large number of weapons. In 2014, the number of missing weapons was as high as 14,000. However, three years later, that number had multiplied almost eightfold to more than 107,000.

El ministro turco del Interior, Süleyman Soylu
AFP/ADEM ALTAN - Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu

Tum himself also raised accusations that weapons owned by the Police or Army ended up in the hands of civilians during the chaotic night of the coup, when crowds took to the streets to confront soldiers. Weapons that were later used to carry out assassinations. Some were even officially confirmed, after a murder suspect said in 2017 that he had obtained the murder weapon -an MP5 machine gun- when weapons were distributed outside police headquarters in Ankara as the coup was taking place.