In the turbulent 1990s, corruption involving an intricate network of top government officials and underworld figures — labeled the “deep state” — became synonymous with Turkey’s name and image globally. But after the turn of the century, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, promising to curtail corruption, rose to power — first as prime minister, later as president.
In the last couple of years, mafia figures — many with ultranationalist backgrounds — have made a gradual return to public view on various platforms. One is Alaattin Cakici, who was released from prison last year as part of a parole eligibility bill that aimed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in penitentiaries. Shortly after his release, Cakici issued a public letter threatening Turkey’s main opposition leader.