Turkey should fully investigate allegations by mafia boss Sedat Peker of illegal activities in politics, the bureaucracy and the business world, Transparency International said.
“These claims should be investigated by independent judicial organs and probed by an investigatory commission of the parliament” to establish their accuracy, the international anti-corruption body said in a statement on Twitter on Friday.
Turkish officials have denied or ignored a multitude of claims made by Peker about dirty relations between the state, the underworld and several Turkish companies. Peker, 49, is in exile and has aired the allegations in a series of videos published on YouTube since early May.
Turkey is ranked 86th of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, equal with India, Burkina Faso, Trinidad and Tobago, and Timor-Leste. New Zealand and Denmark are ranked as the least corrupt nations.
Among Peker’s claims are allegations that the son of Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, travelled to Venezuela last year to set up a route for the smuggling of cocaine to Turkey. The ex-politician has denied the charges, saying his son visited the country to distribute COVID-19 aid. Peker also alleged that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who overseas the nation’s police force, has cooperated with the criminal underworld.
Turkey has made no progress in the fight against widespread corruption, the European Commission said in an annual report on enlargement in October. The country has no anti-corruption strategy or action plan, indicating lack of political will to fight against it decisively.
“Turkey should improve its track record on dismantling criminal networks and confiscating criminal assets,” the commission said.
Early this month, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hakan Ayık, a drugs smuggler and Australia’s most wanted man, was enjoying a luxury lifestyle in Turkey despite an Interpol warrant for his arrest.