HDP calls for a parliamentary committee to investigate mafia links

The HDP calls for a parliamentary committee to investigate statements about the links between the mafia and politics in Turkey.

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is calling for a committee of inquiry into statements published by mafia boss Sedat Peker about the links between the state, the government and organized crime that have preoccupied millions of people in Turkey for days. Deputy parliamentary group chairman Saruhan Oluç addressed the issue at a press conference in parliament in Ankara, starting with the diversionary tactics of President and AKP leader Tayyip Erdoğan. Whenever the government sees itself in trouble, it brings up the possibility of a coup, Oluç said and continued:

"To keep itself on its feet, the government keeps talking about an imminent coup. It's not true. There is no threat of a coup against this government. The supposed threat is used as a political tactic to stifle discussions and prevent an investigation into the allegations made. For the past two days, we have been hearing from government partners that Turkey is under attack. This is also not true. It is not about Turkey, it is about the governing coalition, its mistakes and its invisible allies. The government is not Turkey. It is only a part of it."

The government is spreading fear and pretending that the country is in danger in order to distract attention from itself, the HDP politician explained: "However, Turkey is not being threatened and is not the topic of discussion. The discussion is not about Turkey, but about the wrong government policy. It's not firstly talking about a coup and secondly not talking about Turkey, it's talking about the government."

However, the issue is not new to Turkey, Oluç said, referring to the Susurluk scandal of 1996. Currently, the connection between politics and the mafia is only being addressed one more time. Oluç referred to the intimate relationship between Sedat Peker and the Erdogan government, citing as examples the mafia godfather's support for the introduction of the presidential system in 2017 and during the 2018 election campaign. He also recalled that Peker had initiated aid deliveries to Turkish government-backed jihadist groups in Syria and threatened the ‘Peace Academics’ with a bloodbath. The fact that he addressed Erdogan as "Brother Tayyip" pointed to the entanglement between the mafia and the government.

"So what needs to be done? If Turkey were a constitutional state and there was an independent and impartial judiciary, the ruling coalition would not have thrown its weight behind these sordid allegations and connections, but would have ensured investigations. However, since there is no such judiciary in Turkey, nothing has been done in this direction. The coalition partners say they want to maintain this system. Their only concern is the welfare of the government."

In order to distract attention from itself, the government relies on nationalist statements and love of country and attacks the opposition, Oluç said. Erdogan has publicly threatened the opposition and expressed support for lynching. This is extremely dangerous and unacceptable, he said. The actors exposed in the Susurluk scandal in the connection between the mafia, the bureaucracy and politics are still almost entirely partners of the governing coalition today, he noted.

"These actors who planned and carried out 17,000 extrajudicial executions are also the partners of the current government. We were already aware of this, but it has now come to light one more time. The Chief of Staff at the time spoke of a low-intensity war during that period. Mafia organizations fed on this dirty war and grew from it. In this atmosphere of war against the Kurdish people, structures developed that continue to profit from conflicts from Syria to Libya and maintain their connections today. Where there is war and conflict, where enmity against the Kurdish people can be practiced, mafia structures develop. Those who profited from the war then are still doing so today. So what is the solution to the problem? We say that very clearly: ensuring the democratization of Turkey and a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, an independent and impartial intervention of the judiciary against this kind of dirty connections, and the intervention of the parliament," he said in justification of the demanded parliamentary inquiry committee.