Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has ruled out resignation in the face of mafia leader Sedat Peker's grave allegations, saying that he never thought of doing so.
Speaking to journalists during a live broadcast on May 24, Soylu said that nothing requires him to resign from a legal perspective.
"I've never thought about resigning," Soylu said, adding that he is not the subject, "but Turkey is the target here."
Peker, currently in the United Arab Emirates, has been releasing videos on YouTube filled with serious allegations against current and former politicians, with the most high-ranking one being Soylu.
Although mostly infuriated due to being sidelined, Peker, an ally-turned-foe of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), repeatedly says he releases the videos as a reaction against police officers raiding his house and pointing guns towards his wife and little daughters.
According to the mafia boss, Soylu sought help from Peker's men repeatedly to boost his political career in the past. He also claimed that Soylu assigned official guards to Peker when the relations between him and the government were not strained.
During the broadcast on May 25, Soylu stressed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is his leader.
"Everyone knows how we work and what the AKP represents in Turkey," he said.
The minister was also asked about a report that said he was left alone by the government.
"Who says that?" Soylu asked, before slamming the report published by the BBC's Turkish service.
'I would have resigned if I were Ağar'
Turning to Peker's accusations regarding former police chief and interior minister Mehmet Ağar, Soylu said that he would have resigned if he was in that position.
In various videos, Peker accused Ağar of multiple crimes, including murders and the purchase of the Yalıkavak Marina in Bodrum through threats and falsely claiming that the previous owner was linked to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen to get him locked up.
"Is it appropriate for Mr. Ağar to remain at his position in the marina? I would have resigned within 48 hours. I'm saying this as the interior minister," Soylu said on May 24.
Commenting on Peker's claims on being provided with official guards, Soylu surprisingly made the issue about main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu to claim that people show fake threats against themselves to obtain guards.
"We removed Kaftancıoğlu's guards because there were no threats," Soylu said, prompting immediate backlash from the CHP Istanbul chair.
Yalancı!— Canan Kaftancıoğlu (@Canan_Kaftanci) May 24, 2021
Madem tehdit yoktu (kendisinden daha büyük tehdit yok bu arada) öncesinde ne diye yakın ardından özel koruma statüsüne alınmışım?
Sonrasında ise cevap hakkımı kullandırırlarsa yayında söyleyeceğim. pic.twitter.com/JLAX5SFhlf
"You are a liar! Why was I in the special guarding status if there are no threats?" she asked, while calling the minister disgraceful.
Perhaps one of the most interesting moments of the interview was when the journalists asked Soylu a question about Peker's videos being watched by millions of people.
"Millions of people are also watching child porn. Millions of people are watching perverted stuff," Soylu said, prompting visibly surprised journalists to say that the two issues are unrelated.
Although he was repeatedly asked to reveal the name of the politician that he claimed Peker was sending $10,000 a month, Soylu evaded all questions.
All the while, Peker sent dozens of tweets including questions for Soylu and new accusations.
Calling Soylu "the biggest boss of drug trafficking" and "a lunatic," Peker reiterated his previous claim that the minister asked for his help countless times.
"Süleyman, you are the mafia boss himself," Peker said, while calling on him to reveal how he gained wealth despite only having an insurance company in the past.
Noting that Soylu's father arranged a lawyer for him in a past murder case, Peker asked Soylu why he employed figures close to him.
"If you're an honorable man, talk about your project of becoming the president and [AKP deputy] Tolga Ağar the interior minister. I ruined this project of yours," Peker said.
The mafia leader also said that he will release his eighth video on May 30 to respond to Soylu's accusations.
At the end of the broadcast, meanwhile, a group of AKP voters gathered in front of the Habertürk building to show Soylu support. The images of Soylu greeting the group were slammed on social media due to a COVID-19 curfew issued by the minister himself being in force at the time.
Kendi yayınladığı genelgeye göre sokağa çıkma yasağı var. pic.twitter.com/1DtCAeiKIO— asfalt osman (@asfaltosman) May 24, 2021