Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker on May 25 released a new video in which he says that he was used as a political tool by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu against former Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Peker makes the comments during a video call which he held with businessman Reşat Hacıfazlıoğlu, whom Soylu admitted of knowing the day before. Peker says that he turned into an “enemy” of Albayrak on the account of Soylu.
süleyman soylunun Habertürk canlı yayınında tanırım, arkadaşım dediği Reşat Hacıfazlıoğlu’yla telefon görüşmem. Bir gram namusun varsa o koltukta oturma. https://t.co/DVaz9lBvjk— Sedat Peker (@sedat_peker) May 25, 2021
“He [Soylu] said 'Stop releasing them [videos] about Mr. Bayrak,' then I stopped doing so; he said 'release them,' then I released them,” Peker tells Hacıfazlıoğlu, in a reference to his videos that he uploaded last year criticizing Albayrak.
This is not the first time that Peker says he fell victim to a rivalry between Soylu and Albayrak, who are reported to have become embroiled in a power struggling in recent years.
In one of his earlier YouTube videos, Peker had said: “Didn’t you turn me against Mr. [Berat] Albayrak? Didn’t you say, ‘I don’t govern Istanbul, Berat does.”
During an interview on broadcaster Habertürk on May 24, Soylu said that he knew of Hacıfazlıoğlu but claimed that the latter had “no acquitance with Peker.”
In response to Soylu's remarks, Peker released the recording of his conversation with Hacıfazlıoğlu whom he referred to as his “relative.”
“This is my phone conversation with Reşat Hacıfazlıoğlu, for whom Soylu had said 'I know him, he is a friend.' If you have a gram of honor, do not sit at that post [referring to Soylu],” Peker said in his Twitter post, while sharing the relevant recording.
The conversation exposes Peker's ties to Soylu's family as he asks Hacıfazlıoğlu to talk to the minister's father on his behalf. In return, Hacıfazlıoğlu says that Soylu's father Hasan Soylu “loves” Peker and would not approve of his son's current stance against the mafia leader.
Peker says that he has so far “done so much” for Soylu and “disqualified all of his enemies,” but is now given the cold shoulder by the minister. He asks, once again, why Soylu abandoned and betrayed him.
Hacıfazlıoğlu says that he is similarly “surprised” by Soylu's discourse against Peker and all of the minister's relatives are on Peker's side.
“Go to Ankara, clear things up there. I have trusted this man, I have done so much because of this man [Soylu]. Things I did were benefitting him. I have disqualified all of his enemies,” Peker tells Hacıfazlıoğlu.
The conversation further touches upon a “favor” Soylu did for Peker by sending a message to him through Hacıfazlıoğlu during a funeral ceremony.
Peker had previously said that Soylu tipped him off through a “relative” that authorities were on his case, allowing him to flee Turkey.
“He [Soylu] did favors for me, I have seen his friendship; he told you at the funeral, Ok to all of this, but I have also provided friendship for him...I have given so much effort since the beginning of my youth years. He was my return ticket [to Turkey]," Peker says.
Peker, who has been jailed several times for a range of offenses, from fraud to running a criminal group, fled Turkey in 2020 to avoid prosecution. He is believed to be currently living in the United Arab Emirates.