Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking to ease longstanding regional tensions with the UAE over the presence of Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker in the Gulf state.
Kılıçdaroğlu's remarks came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Aug. 31 held a rare phone call with the UAE's de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a new sign of efforts to improve ties between the regional rivals.
“It is because of Sedat Peker [that the talks between Turkey and the UAE have restarted]. Before, Erdoğan used to speak very harshly [against the UAE], and the same was also the case for them. And then Sedat Peker started to make the known statements,” Kılıçdaroğlu told FOX TV on Sept. 1.
Peker, who fled Turkey in early 2020 and is believed to be in the United Arab Emirates, has so far released nine videos on YouTube that are filled with bombshell allegations against current and former politicians.
In June, the mafia boss said that United Arab Emirates officials warned him not to share videos due to high security risks. Afterwards, Peker has continued to make his sensational claims via Twitter instead.
"They told me that there's something called an international security protocol. I can't share videos due to the high security risk," Peker said on Twitter on June 18.
The mafia boss also said that United Arab Emirates officials told him that there might be assassination attempts against him.
Turkey has formally requested Peker's extradition from the UAE. As there is no extradition treaty between Ankara and Abu Dhabi, the UAE has not responded to the request.