Erdoğan ally resigns after crime boss’s corruption allegations

Show caption Sedat Peker, seen in a YouTube video displayed on a phone, has gained a cult following. He is believed to be hiding out in the UAE. Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP/Getty Images Turkey Erdoğan ally resigns after crime boss’s corruption allegations Korkmaz Karaca denies claims made by fugitive and says ‘troll lynching campaign’ is damaging his health Agence France-Presse in Istanbul Wed 31 Aug 2022 10.46 BST Share on Facebook

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A senior member of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party has resigned after a string of corruption allegations levelled through social media by a fugitive crime boss.

The convicted criminal Sedat Peker has gained a cult following in Turkey by making accusations on YouTube and Twitter against senior members of Erdoğan’s team of everything from graft to drug smuggling and even murder.

Peker is believed to be hiding out in the United Arab Emirates, and his lavish property in Istanbul was confiscated last week. The 51-year-old openly admits to being a crime boss and says he has incriminating evidence stacked away on his phone against officials who allegedly deal with the Turkish underworld. Most of his videos rack up millions of views.

His latest Twitter posts last weekend accused a string of officials of seeking bribes from companies trading on the stock exchange. One of them concerned Korkmaz Karaca, an executive in Erdoğan’s AKP and a member of the presidential economic policy board.

Karaca said on Twitter that the “ongoing immoral troll lynching campaign on social media” was damaging his health and ruining his family life. “This lynching, which has reached my beautiful daughter and wife, has become a threat to my health again. For these reasons, I am resigning from my post,” he said late on Tuesday.

He denied the allegations and said he had never met the people mentioned by the crime boss.

Another Erdoğan adviser implicated by Peker resigned last Sunday.

Peker’s popularity stems in part from his oratory skills and his free admission that he is guilty of many of the same crimes he accuses the government of being involved in.

His allegations feed into a growing perception of government waste and corruption in the second decade of Erdoğan’s dominant rule.

Erdoğan rose to power promising to root out the graft that blemished successive secular governments in the 1980s and 90s. But polls show the public suspect Erdoğan’s Islamic-rooted party of the same bad habits in the run-up to next year’s general election.

Turkey’s main opposition parties have demanded a formal investigation into Peker’s latest allegations.