“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”
The entrance sentences of the “Tale of two cities by Charles Dickens” have the
power to describe today’s Turkey, after more than a hundred-year. To understand today, I have to write a summary of the last 30 years of Turkey’s adventure on politics, human rights, economics, and organized crime. This article will be the first part. If you are familiar with Turkey’s story, you can directly go to part 2. “Repositioning 101”. Otherwise, I suggest you read the summary, which is a base for the main story.
30 years ago
In the ’90s, the world was in a significant change. After Berlin Wall collapsed, the paradigm of the bipolar world order converted to the globalization dream, especially for developing countries. Neo-liberal politics were on the rise, and developing countries were suffering from economic problems. World Bank and IMF were nearly the only money source for these countries. Instead of infrastructure investments or long-term goals, countries used this money for short time credit payments and financing government-supported business people. In Turkey, politics was corrupted. Every day you read a corruption story in newspapers, and there was always a politician advocating this unacceptable situation. Never forget that if there is easy money, the mafia (organized crime) always be there. In the dark story of Turkey in the ’90s, the state, business people, and mafia were all together. (Reading suggestion: Susurluk Scandal or Susurluk car crash — Ergenekon) The state openly supported mafia leaders for the name of the war on terrorist groups like ASALA, PKK, IBDA-C. The authorities were blind to organized crime, especially for weapon and drug smuggling. Taking no notice of these kinds of crimes was substantial financial support for an illegal war. Also, the mafia’s power helped eliminate every threat. Journalists, writers, professors, and business people were killed and bombed. (Reading suggestion: Assassinated People’ the 90s) These days, Prime Minister Tansu Çiller was supporting these organized crime groups by saying: “Those who fire bullets or suffer their wounds in the name of this country, this nation, and this state will always be respectfully remembered by us.”
Terror, corruption, economic crisis, the nationalist mafia were the story of the ’90s for Turkey. At the end of a Millenium, in 1999, Izmit Earthquake happened. It killed around 17,000 people and left more than 250,000 people homeless. The whole country saw that there was no state and there were only interest groups. When Turkey started to heal the wounds of the earthquake, IMF gave credit to Turkey with a control condition by credit commissioner Kemal Derviş. Kemal Derviş and his economic administration put a new economic approach into practice. After the most significant financial crisis in Turkey’s history, Turkey finally had a fresh start.
20 years ago
A new wave of hope arose. Ak Party (AKP — Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Party) won the elections with huge public support in 2002. A reform period started for Turkey on economic development, EU relations, and human rights. A magnificent success story had written by AKP. Mafia and this kind of organized crime finished. In 2011, Mehmet Ağar, The Minister of the Interior in the ’90s, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the Susurluk scandal as the leader of a criminal organization, 15 years after you the car crash in 1996.
Per capita income was near 10.000 USD, the EU membership was one step ahead of Turkey, but the story ended with Gezi Parkı Protests in 2013. Instead of listening to peaceful protestors, the government stopped the protests with the police force. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started to build an autoritarian administration. Free press silenced. Journalists had jailed, and his presidency blocked freedom of speech. (Watching suggestion: Why the world is worried about Turkey?) After a military coup d’etat attempt in 2016, the government started to cooperate with the nationalist groups and organized crime groups. Sedat Peker’s name became famous in these years.
Last five years and more, Sedat Peker work harmoniously with the government. He had threatened “Academics for Peace” members with these words: “We will shed your blood and swim in it!”.* He confessed last week in a Youtube video that he had organized a protest and an attack on the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet in 2015 with a request by an AKP deputy.*
Thirty years later, Turkey has more problems than in the ’90s. The authoritarian leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan destroyed democracy, justice, human rights, and freedom. Corruption, poverty, unemployment, and devastating economic crises give hard times to the community. In addition to all this, there is a pandemic which affected all the world. Turkey was not ready for his kind of challenge. Eventually, we screwed up.
Ak Party also is losing blood. According to opinion polls, public support for AKP, for the first time in the party’s history, is under 30%. The coalition with nationalists is in difficulty. The weak source of financing government-supported businessmen and organized crime leaders started to become a problem. The cake is getting smaller every day. Because of that, there is an unnamed power war under the umbrella of politics.
At the beginning of this April, a power war started. The power struggle for the post-Erdoğan period suddenly came out. Süleyman Soylu, who is the successor of Mehmet Ağar, is the Minister of the Interior like Mehmet Ağar today. It seems that these names, nationalist groups, some other mafia leaders, and Sedat Peker worked together in harmony for years. We don’t know why, but it looks like this partnership has broken up. After covering up accusations about Sedat Peker for years, something changed, and Sedat Peker became an organized crime leader in one night. He escaped from Turkey just before an operation to catch him, after getting information from inside.
2 May 2021, Sedat Peker shared the first video of the series on Youtube. In this first video, he declared war against some people in the government because some police officers had threatened his wife and daughters with guns. And then he proclaimed about his relations with the state and nationalist groups. He confessed to some crimes, and he accused Süleyman Soylu of illegal activities. After this day, he published six more videos. (Reading suggestion: Claims From an Organized Crime Boss Rock Turkey’s Government — A Twitter Summary about videos.) His Youtube channel has more than 171 million views. He has 1.2 million subscribers. The war series has more than 100 million views in total. Here is a playlist for them:
Nearly every day, Sedat Peker or a bot campaign against him is a trending topic on Twitter. As I mentioned before, in Turkey, we don’t have a free press. Because of that, no national broadcast TV or national newspaper is sharing the story. Only dissident websites and Youtube Channels talk about it. Two months ago, Sedat Peker was a hate symbol for the dissident voter. We are watching a David and Goliath myth as a Youtube series today. Every video, he repeats again and again. “You are all going to lose to a camera and a tripod.”
If you want to read the whole story, it continues here.