Nine police officers who held key posts during Soylu’s ministerial tenure suspended over mafia connections

Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya confirmed that nine police officers were suspended in the operation against a mafia leader allegedly close to former minister Süleyman Soylu. The police officers reportedly held critical positions during Soylu’s ministerial tenure.

Arrested mafia leader Ayhan Bora Kaplan (L) and former minister Süleyman Soylu (R)

Duvar English

Turkish Interior Ministry has suspended nine police officers regarding the investigation into mafia boss Ayhan Bora Kaplan, who was arrested in the capital Ankara on charges of leading a criminal organization known as the "Tigers.”

The crime syndicate reportedly was close to former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and that the organization became stronger during his term. Similar allegations were also mentioned in the investigation file.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on Oct. 12 confirmed that nine police officers were suspended from their posts within the scope of the investigation against the mafia boss.

It is reported that the police officers held critical positions during Soylu’s ministerial tenure.

Yerlikaya also noted that 2,874 suspects were detained in 378 operations in 120 days and 702 of them were arrested while 38 mafia-type syndicates were dissolved. .

Turkish police also carried out 80,572 narcotic operations in 120 days. While 98,198 suspects were detained, 8,379 of them were arrested.

Previously, Court of Cassation member Yüksel Kocaman, who has been accused of receiving a lavish villa and a car as gifts from arrested crime boss Kaplan, has denied these allegations and claimed that Soylu was the real target of these “operations" against the mafia. 

In the police report prepared after the detention of the crime boss, it was stated that Kaplan's influence within both the judicial and law enforcement systems has waned due to “recent changes in conjuncture."

After the appointment of Yerlikaya as Interior Minister in 2023 after Soylu, many changes were made especially in the police ranks and bureaucratic staff.

The police report about Kaplan also noted, "The criminal organization he established in the past has acquired a large amount of wealth from criminal acts. Furthermore, he has established close ties with the courthouse and the police through the mediation of his lawyer. Thanks to these connections, he has obtained information about the judicial proceedings that may occur against him and has been acting accordingly."