Underworld king in Turkey enjoys controversial amnesty

LETTER FROM ISTANBUL

Archive photo showing mafia chief Alaattin Cakici, escorted by police before trial, in Istanbul, April 11, 2008. IYET / AP

Beneficiary of the amnesty voted by the Turkish Parliament to unclog prisons during this pandemic period, mafia chief Alaattin Çakici was among the first prisoners released. He left Thursday, April 16 of the Sincan power station in Ankara, after sixteen years in detention for sponsored murders – including that of his ex-wife -, armed attack, money laundering etc.

The country’s television channels broadcast images of his convoy passing through the prison gates. The moment was eagerly awaited by nationalist circles, who did not spare their support for the godfather. Because not content with being a seasoned gangster who made his fortune thanks to gambling and drug trafficking, the man is indeed a muse of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), which has today become the main partner of Islamo- conservatives in power.

“A patriot”

The amnesty was somehow made especially for him. His release had been demanded for a long time by Devlet Bahçeli, the head of the MHP, assiduous in pleading his cause before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The nationalist leader has constantly praised the qualities of his faithful friend, a “Brave and fearless man”, a “Patriot” having rendered many services to the cause.

Barely out of prison, Alaattin Çakici, 67, although physically weakened by his detention, quickly regained his temper. A war of words then started with Sedat Peker, another mafia chief, to whom he promised to “Wear a skirt”, which in the middle jargon is a great moment of humiliation.

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Some believed it was the start of an emerging gang conflict. “Turkey has returned to the 1990s”summed up former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who was an ally of President Erdogan, before becoming his most fervent political opponent.

The allusion indirectly refers to the omnipotence of the“Deep state”, a hidden pact between the mafia, the security services and right-wing politicians, which marked the political life of the country for twenty years, from 1980 to 2000, with its procession of scandals and extrajudicial assassinations.

Service henchman

Mired in the dirty war in Kurdistan, where death squads, bloodthirsty Islamist groups and underworld police brought terror, successive governments openly flirted with criminals.

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