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Turkey requests extradition of 'mobster' from UAE

A photograph taken on May 26, 2021 in Istanbul shows on a mobile phone Sedat Peker speaking on his youtube channel [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]
A photograph taken on May 26, 2021 in Istanbul shows on a mobile phone Sedat Peker speaking on his youtube channel [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey has requested the extradition of "mobster" Sedat Peker from the UAE. With no extradition treaty between Ankara and Abu Dhabi, however, there has apparently been no response to the formal request.

Peker has made serious allegations against Turkish politicians on his YouTube channel over the past month. Once a supporter of the government led by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and with alleged close ties to ministers, the mafia leader Peker turned against it earlier this year and began making a series of devastating allegations against top officials and businessmen. Tens of millions of Turks have been glued to his channel as a result.

The allegations include corruption, drug smuggling, money laundering and illegal arms sales. Among some of the most serious are those accusing the son of former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim of being part of an international drug trafficking scheme. Another is that a private security company led by a close advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan transported arms to Syrian militants with Jabhat Al-Nusra instead of the intended Turkmen recipients.

Prominent officials who still serve in the government and are also accused of corruption include Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

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Anonymous Turkish sources familiar with the situation have spoken to Middle East Eye and revealed that the extradition request has been made after two arrest warrants were issued earlier this year. The "mobster" is based in Dubai.

According to one of the sources, Turkey's Interior Ministry also contacted the UAE Interpol National Central Bureau last month to demand Peker's arrest. "However, UAE Interpol asked for an international arrest order from Interpol," as a result of which no arrest was made.

The revelation comes after Peker announced on his Twitter account on Sunday that he was taken in for questioning by Emirati officials, who then released him and told him that he is free to either remain in Dubai or leave the country as he chooses. "They told me that I was a guest in their country since there was no Interpol decision on me," he said. "They told me that there have been many threats to my life."

According to some analysts, Peker has so far steered clear of targeting President Erdogan in any of his allegations. He maintains that he respects the president and is loyal to the Turkish state. Erdogan and senior AK Party officials have so far been silent on the whole issue.

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