Turkish mafia boss’ YouTube views near Turkey’s population

Seven videos posted on YouTube by Turkish organised crime boss Sedat Peker have attracted more than 70 million views on the video platform, according to social media tracker Social Blade.

More than 42 million of the 70.3 million views came in the last 30 days, after Peker started to upload hour-long tell-all videos.

According to an article by journalist and opposition lawmaker Barış Yarkadaş, short clips from Peker’s videos have been viewed more than 250 million times on TikTok.

“I swear, Netflix has yet to air a series as thrilling as this one,” one viewer told Global Voices.

Peker’s YouTube channel has, in fact, been awarded special status.

After Turkish authorities blocked access to Peker’s personal website from Turkey, there were fears that the YouTube channel might be censored as well.

Instead, the channel titled Reis Sedat Peker (“Sedat Peker the Chief”) has been awarded a “badge of official verification” which works to confirm the identity of a channel’s owner, but is also seen as a sign of prestige.

To receive the official verification badge, a YouTube channel must have at least 100,000 viewers. Peker’s is well past that number, with more than 479,000 subscribers.

The videos feature accusations of rape, drug trafficking, murder and assassinations against top Turkish officials close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Most prominent among those implicated are current Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and former police chief and interior minister Mehmet Ağar, with Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak and his brother Serhat Albayrak also mentioned.

“The main question Peker asks is why the Turkish government and its top brass abandoned and betrayed him,” journalist Arzu Geybullayeva wrote for Global Voices.

The 49-year-old Peker is currently the subject of an Interpol red notice, and is reportedly living in hiding in Dubai. In his fourth video, Peker said that, in total, he has spent 16 1/2 years behind bars, the Global Voices report said.

On Sunday’s video, the seventh in the series, Peker said he had been forced to change location, implying that it had been prompted by an operation launched from Turkey for his capture. Peker also spoke of his sensibility to avoid implicating the state, focusing his accusations on individuals instead.

The corruption allegations risk further damage to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, Reuters had reported in the aftermath of the sixth video.

So far, Peker's allegations against several officials have only been slammed by those targeted, and no legal proceedings were launched until Peker targeted Soylu himself.

The minister filed a criminal complaint for slander against Peker on May 17 over the string of recent accusations. The mobster had said Soylu approved the security detail that was assigned to him in 2015, and that the minister had helped him avoid prosecution after an investigation into his organised crime activities was launched in early 2020. 

Addressing the issue after a cabinet meeting on Monday, Erdoğan said that during his AKP’s 19-year rule, his governments had brought peace to the country by tackling such criminal gangs. The AKP will “foil this dirty script too”, Erdoğan said.

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