Communist Party of Turkey rallies to denounce government’s involvement with mafia boss

Photo: TKP rally in defiance of government ban

Communists in Turkey called a mass rally in Istanbul to denounce the collaboration between the ruling conservative AKP party, political sects, bosses and the mafia.

The district governor tried to illegally ban the Communist Party (TKP) from having the demonstration, but the organizers went forward and published their press release and call to action: “The reason for the ban is the content of the press release. In other words, it makes them uncomfortable that we are against sects and mafia. Our meeting has been banned because we want an order without sects, mafia, or bosses. We declare here, sects will be banned and we will establish a country without exploitation.”

Who is Sedat Peker?

The demonstration follows a slew of YouTube video-statements released by mafia leader Sedat Peker, exposing criminal wrongdoing by members of the AKP and their families.

Formerly, Peker was a long-time ally to Turkish President Erdoğan until 2018 when he fell out of favor with certain groups within the AKP and fled to the United Arab Emirates. So far Peker has released nine videos — most about an hour long — detailing the criminal acts of different government officials. 

Many accusations target Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, including crimes ranging from “state-organized murders to drug trafficking.” Accusations against other AKP members include the cover-up of the rape and murder of a woman journalist, mafia-involved raids of newspaper offices, illegal surveilance of other party members, the use of blackmail and taking of bribes, and more murders.

Beginning in the 1990s, Peker himself has also been accused and arrested for murder and other crimes, and served more than 10 years in prison. After his release in 2014, he immediately began to forge his alliances with the governing AKP, organizing rallies and personally meeting with President Erdoğan. He became somewhat of a celebrity — he even received “the most benevolent businessman award” from the corporate-owned Milliyet daily newspaper.

He publicly threatened academics who signed a petition for stopping the government’s assaults in the Kurdish provinces by saying, “their blood will flow and we will bathe in their blood.” In 2019, he encouraged AKP supporters to take up arms in the case of an opposition electoral victory.

What’s going on now

These videos understandably caused outrage among the working class of Turkey, who are in the midst of a serious economic crisis. The TKP released a statement:

“The country is going through a very harsh economic crisis, manifested by a huge amount of foreign debt in foreign currencies, instability, decline in productive capacity and negative reserves in its treasury. The impact of this crisis was doubled when the pandemic settled in, in 2020. Unemployment has surpassed 25%, contrary to the manipulated official figures, corresponding to one out of every three people under the age of 35 (some of whom lived their entire life under AKP’s rule). … We should add to this picture that the government has demonstrated one of the worst examples of mismanagement of the pandemic and implemented irrational measures, solely aiming to rescue the capitalist class.”

The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands in solidarity with the TKP and all progressive people organizing and rallying against the oppressive ruling party in Turkey and its brutal and corrupt methods for retaining power. 

Going forward from this rally, the TKP plans to organize mass meetings and launch new organizing initiatives in working-class neighborhoods, workplaces and schools. They will be fighting for the release of the cadres who were arrested for leafleting or taking pictures. The TKP is also calling for a follow-up mass demonstration on June 19 in the capital Ankara.

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