Turkish police detain mafia leader's brother following bombshell allegations

Turkish police have detained mafia leader Sedat Peker's brother after Peker said he sent him on a failed mission to kill a Turkish Cypriot journalist 25 years ago on the orders of the state.

Sedat Peker.

Duvar English - Reuters

Turkish police detained the brother of mafia leader Sedat Peker on May 23 after Peker said he sent him on a failed mission to kill a Turkish Cypriot journalist 25 years ago on the orders of former state officials. 

Organized crime police detained Atilla Peker and a personal guard at a rented house in the Aegean province of Muğla. 

The reported detention came hours after Sedat Peker, who has released a series of videos filled with accusations against officials and watched by millions of people, said he tasked his brother to kill journalist Kutlu Adalı in 1996 upon the orders of former minister Mehmet Ağar and former intelligence official Korkut Eken. 

Peker's uncorroborated allegations against politicians stretching back decades have gripped viewers in Turkey, and threatened to tarnish the image of a government already struggling with economic woes and the COVID-19 outbreak.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in response to the videos last week that his government brought peace to Turkey by tackling criminal gangs. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has filed a criminal complaint against Peker and called for him to be charged with slander.

In his latest video released on YouTube on May 23 and already watched by more than 9.9 million people, Sedat Peker said his brother was unable to carry out the killing, although Adalı was shot dead shortly afterwards in July 1996.

A Turkish investigation did not uncover who was responsible, and the European Court of Human Rights fined Turkey in 2005 for a failure to carry out an "adequate and effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killing."

Peker said the same former minister who wanted Adalı killed was responsible for the killings of journalist Uğur Mumcu and some Kurdish businessmen. 

Peker, 49, rose to prominence in the 1990s as a gangland figure and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2007 for crimes including forming and leading a criminal gang. He has served several jail sentences in Turkey.

Following his brother's detention, Peker questioned why Eken and Ağar were not also taken into custody. 

"Why didn't you detain Korkut Eken and Mehmet Ağar and instead detain my brother only?" Peker asked.