Far-right Turkish mob boss acquitted on charges as court orders stay of execution

An Istanbul court on Tuesday acquitted far-right mob boss Kürşad Yılmaz on multiple charges, while also ordering a stay of execution on the mafia leader’s current stint behind bars, Birgün newspaper reported.

The 61-year-old organised crime leader with links to the ultranationalist Grey Wolves movement was acquitted on charges of threats, looting, and restriction of freedom, the newspaper said. 

In 1995, Yılmaz was sentenced to 19 years in prison over the murder of the former mayor of Turkey’s western town of Kuşadası, Lütfi Suyolcu. 

Yılmaz escaped from Turkish prisons on three occasions, in 1994, 1997 and 1998, before being arrested in Bulgaria and extradited back to Turkey.

The leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the junior coalition partner of the country’s ruling party, has gone on record to refer to Yılmaz as a “hero”.

In a May 2018 tweet, MHP’s Devlet Bahçeli said Yılmaz and Alaattin Çakıcı - another infamous figure in Turkey’s underworld - were “passionately fond of their country and ideals”, referring to their well-known neo-nationalist (“Ülkücü”) stance, while calling for their release from prison.

Çakıcı was released last year in an amnesty long pushed-for by Bahçeli.

The court’s decision on Yılmaz arrives as Turkey is shaken by a series of tell-all videos detailing alleged connections between the state and criminal organisations by convicted crime boss Sedat Peker, another infamous neo-nationalist.

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