Former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has denied that his son Erkan Yıldırım visited Venezuela to find a new route for drug trafficking and said that he went to the capital Caracas to deliver COVID-19 test kits in person.
His remarks came after mafia leader Sedat Peker on May 23 accused Yıldırım of visiting Venezuela in January and February this year to form a new drug trafficking route following a raid in Colombia last year that authorities seized 4.9 tons of cocaine headed for Turkey.
The former PM, who is currently the deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters that Peker was lying.
"We completely reject these accusations. It's an insult to link us with drugs," Binali Yıldırım said on May 23 following a meeting with AKP officials in Istanbul.
"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," he said.
Peker, a pan-Turkist and Turanist organized crime boss who fled Turkey in early 2020 to avoid prosecution, has been releasing videos on YouTube for the past three weeks that include serious allegations against current and former politicians in a bid to take revenge for the operations launched into his organization.
Although mostly infuriated due to being sidelined, Peker, an ally-turned-foe of the government, repeatedly says he releases the videos as a reaction against police officers raiding his house and pointing guns towards his wife and little daughters.
After his bombshell video on May 23, journalist Cüneyt Özdemir shared a tweet from the Turkish Embassy in Caracas dated Dec. 7, 2020 during his YouTube broadcast, which showed Yıldırım posing for a photo with a Turkish delegation that headed to the Venezuelan capital as part of an official visit.
Diputados @AvSerkanBayram (el Presidente del Grupo Interparlamentario de Amistad Venezuela-Turquía) y @jiskenderogl, los miembros de Consejo Supremo Electoral, Yunus Aykın y Ekrem Özübek, y el Presidente de @LAMER_CEL, Prof. Dr. Necati Kutlu, visitaron las escuelas @TMaarifVakfi. pic.twitter.com/tNWF7PaOxr— Turquía en Caracas (@embajadacaracas) December 7, 2020
Binali Yıldırım said that his son didn't visit Venezuela with a delegation and that it was a coincidence that the group was also there.
"He carried out the visit with his own means," the former PM said.
His 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.