Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its junior coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have voted down a parliamentary motion calling for an investigation into mafia leader Sedat Peker's corruption allegations against top government officials.
The parliamentary motion was submitted by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Mezopotamya news agency reported on May 26.
Following the submission of the motion, HDP MP Ali Kenanoğlu addressed the parliament's general assembly saying that such an investigation is especially important to shed light on unsolved murder cases of 1990s, including of Kurdish businesspeople.
“It is important in terms of finding those responsible behind the Roboski Massacre, the atrocities in Sur and Nusaybin and Ankara Train Station Massacare which all happened during the reign of the AKP. It is important in terms of enlightening what kind of a connection today's politicians have with the Gazi and Sivas massacres,” said Kenanoğlu.
“The establishment of this commission is important in terms of exposing who wanted and paved the way for the crime organization leader to hold rallies with the People's Alliance. It is important in terms of investigating why the crime organization leader has been saying 'He was my return ticket [to Turkey]' for Interior Minister,” said Kenanoğlu.
Peker, who is currently believed to be in Dubai, has organized political rallies in Turkey in various cities since 2015. He features in photos and videos with celebrities, as well as political figures, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and was a regular face at high society events in Turkey until his exile.
In his YouTube videos, Peker has made several allegations involving possible murder, rape, drug smuggling and abuse of political power. His main targets are Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who, according to the mafia leader, sought help from Peker's men repeatedly to boost his political career, and Mehmet Ağar, a shady politician who is known for ordering extrajudicial killings during his term as interior minister in 1996.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Muharrem Erkek also addressed the general assembly on May 26, saying that such an investigation is needed to restore the public's trust in the parliament and urged the AKP to “end its coalition with the mafia.”
“During your reign, mafia leaders have toured the country province by province and held rallies. They have threatened political party leaders with death. Can crime organization leaders accomplish this without political support? Who is responsible for this picture? Why did this all happen? It happened because you walked together with the mafia. Please end the coalition of mafia,” Erkek said.
The motion was rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP lawmakers.
Fifty-three percent of Turks find Peker’s allegations to be true
Meanwhile, some 52.6 percent of Turkish citizens find Peker's allegations to be true, according to a survey by Yöneylem Social Research Center.
The survey was conducted with 3,140 people from Turkey's 27 provinces.
Some 56.5 percent of the participants said they knew about Sedat Peker's statements, whereas 43.5 percent said they had no information with regards to the issue.
Asked what they thought about Peker's statements, 22.5 percent of the participants said, “Sedat Peker has been making false accusations against some politicians for his own advantage,” whereas 52.6 percent said, “I believe Peker's statements about some politicians are true.” The remaining 24.9 percent said they were not knowledgeable enough to indicate an opinion.
The survey also asked participants if they think “the politics-mafia relation is today continuing like it did in the past.” Some 68.9 percent “completely agreed” with this statement, while 8 percent “partially agreed” with it, and another 23.1 percent “disagreed” with it.
In a breakdown of the participants' party identification, 30.3 percent of AKP voters “completely agreed” with this statement, while this figure was 83.6 percent for CHP voters, 86.3 percent for HDP voters, 51.9 percent for MHP voters, and 84.6 percent for İYİ (Good) Party voters.