Turkey repatriates mobster Sedat Peker’s right-hand man

Emre Olur, known as Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker’s press adviser, has been brought to Turkey after his arrest in Albanian capital Tirana, Turkey’s Police Directorate announced on Sunday.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu congratulated the police, saying they “brought another ignoble to our country after an intense pursuit”.

Olur was put in an Air Albania flight to Istanbul by Interpol units, and handed over to the Istanbul police’s Organised Crime division.

Peker’s right-hand man and the one believed to be responsible for relaying the mobster’s confessions and allegations of widespread corruption among the Justice and  Development Party (AKP) government was wanted for membership in a criminal organisation, defamation, intimidation and causing bodily harm.

The police said Olur had left Turkey for North Macedonia on May 23 last year. Olur reportedly travelled to the United Arab Emirates over Tirana last week, and was deported from Abu Dhabi on Sept. 16. The next day he was arrested by Albanian police.

“He was sent to Albania over Serbia. Turkish authorities, who had apparently been informed beforehand, took custody of him and brought him to Turkey as of this morning,” said Erk Acarer, a journalist who has been reporting on Peker since the mobster began his exposés last year.

“These back-to-back incidents tell us something. The $25 million reward on Peker, the attack on his home, then the gunning down of his close contacts and an operation against his key aide, these are messages for Peker from both Turkey and the UAE, which has gotten closer to Turkey and signed several agreements,” Acarer continued.

The UAE’s message could be interpreted as a threat of deportation if Peker posts another exposé, Acarer said. “This confirms once again how important the things (Peker) recounts are. I wish there could be deeper research.”

Olur objected to his deportation from Albania to Turkey, as he holds Albanian citizenship. While delaying his departure, the objection did not secure his release.

Acarer said journalists who have contact with Peker could be targeted and charged with joining a criminal organisation run by Peker. “The goal: The AKP wants a rose garden with no thorns ahead of the elections, let alone tolerating exposés.”

Turkey is headed to a historic election in 2023, after 20 years of AKP rule. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been pulling the lowest poll numbers in his decades in power, and several issues have cost the AKP much of its non-core vote, including the economic crisis, the soaring inflation, and the issue of refugees and border security.

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