Mafia leader's brother implicates state actors in 1996 murder of Turkish Cypriot journalist

In his written testimony to prosecutors, mafia leader Sedat Peker's brother Atilla Peker said that he was hired as a hitman by former intelligence chief Korkut Eken to murder Turkish Cypriot journalist Kutlu Adalı in the spring of 1996. Peker said that they did not carry out the assassination at the time but that Eken later told him the "Cyprus issue was taken care of," in a reference to Adalı's murder in July 1996. 

Turkish Cypriot journalist Kutlu Adalı's murder remains unsolved to date.

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Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker's brother Atilla Peker on May 25 submitted his written testimony to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office with regards to the murder of Turkish Cypriot journalist Kutlu Adalı, who was shot dead in 1996. 

Atilla Peker told the prosecutors that he was hired as a hitman by Korkut Eken, a former lieutenant colonel and a senior National Intelligence Organization official, to kill Adalı. 

"It was either in March or April 1996 that my brother Sedat Peker called me and asked me to come to Ankara Sheraton Hotel. There I also met with Korkut Eken and was told that I needed to go to [Turkish] Cyprus together Korkut Eken to kill terrorists who have been killing our police officers and soldiers," Atilla Peker said in his testimony, according to a two-page document shared by Sedat Peker on his Twitter account. 

Atilla Peker later traveled to Turkish Cyprus with Eken where he was provided a weapon and taught how to use a silencer, according to his testimony. He said that he had been ordered by Eken to kill also Adalı's friends should they witness the assassination. 

"A couple of times, at day times, we scouted his [Adalı's] house, from where a lot of noises were coming. Upon this, commander Korkut told me, 'Even if they are three people, they are all PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] members. Someone who is a friend of a PKK member is also a PKK member. There would be no problem with killing all of them," Peker said in his testimony. 

The assassination of the journalist did not take place at the time as Peker and Eken returned back to Turkey. 

Afterwards, Eken told Peker that the "Cyprus issue was taken care of," in a reference to the murder of Adalı in July 1996. 

In his tweet, Sedat Peker called on Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to have Eken and former Interior Minister Mehmet Ağar arrested over the journalist's murder. 

Earlier on May 25, the Fethiye Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into Atilla Peker with regards to the murder of Adalı, state broadcaster TRT reported.

The investigation was launched two days after Sedat Peker said in a YouTube video that he had sent his brother on a failed mission to kill Adalı 25 years ago upon the orders of Ağar and Eken.

Following these allegations, Atilla Peker was detained on the same day on charges of “possession of unregistered firearm.” 

Two days after his detention, on May 25, Atilla Peker was released along with judicial control measures and an international travel ban on him.

"My brother Atilla Peker has been released under judicial control. What he wanted to say about the murder of Kutlu Adalı has not been recorded," Sedat Peker said on his Twitter account on May 25. 

Afterwards, Sedat Peker posted another Tweet saying that his brother will give his testimony to a prosecutor later on in the day and make a confession with regards to Adalı's murder. 

Former PM's son files lawsuit against Peker for implicating him in drug trafficking

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's son Erkam Yıldırım has filed a lawsuit against Peker on charges of “insult,” “slander” and “fabricating crimes,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported on May 25.

“In the video in question [of Peker], it is obvious that Erkam Yıldırım has been personally targeted and his personal rights have been violated,” said a petition filed by Yıldırım's lawyer.

In his YouTube video on May 23, Peker claimed that Yıldırım was part of a major cocaine trafficking ring from Venezuela to Turkey. Peker said that Yıldırı had visited Venezuela in January and February this year to form a new drug trafficking route following a raid in Colombia last year in which authorities seized 4.9 tons of cocaine headed for Turkey. 

In response to Peker's claims, former PM Binali Yıldırım confirmed that his son had visited the Venezuelan capital Caracas but was there to “deliver COVID-19 test kits” in person.

"My son indeed went to Venezuela, but not in January or February. He went there in December last year. He distributed test kits, masks and other stuff to those in need as part of the struggle against COVID-19," Yıldırım said on May 23 following a meeting with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials in Istanbul. 

The former PM's remarks were met with disbelief on social media, with users pointing to the low number of COVID-19 cases in Venezuela at the time of Erkan Yıldırım's visit.