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How an exiled mafia boss became the center of Turkish politics

An ultranationalist mafia boss, Sedat Peker, who had connections with the ruling elite for decades, now wages war against top officials with his camera and tripod from abroad. 
Sedat Peker is seen in a video uploaded to YouTube May 16, 2021.

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.

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