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Turkish mob boss threatens opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu

CHP leader files criminal complaint against Alaattin Cakici after well-connected gangster issues hand-written threat of physical violence
Turkish underworld boss Alaattin Cakici arrives in a Vienna courtroom in handcuffs escorted by Austrian police in 2004 (Reuters)
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A Turkish mobster has threatened Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of main opposition party CHP, with physical attack in a handwritten public letter, accusing him of treachery in coordination with foreign powers and Kurdish separatists.

Organised crime leader Alaattin Cakici’s monologue of threats came after Kilicdaroglu mocked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for calling for judicial and human rights reform to gain investors’ confidence amid a currency crisis.

“Will you stop releasing mafia leaders and drug smugglers while imprisoning prisoners of conscience?" the CHP leader asked during a parliamentary address on Tuesday, in an apparent jab at Cakici, who was released in April as part of a partial government amnesty to reduce the number of inmates in prison.

Cakici was convicted in 2004 on multiple sentences of murder, money laundering and leading an illegal armed group. He was also convicted of contracting the assassination of his ex-wife, the daughter of a former gangster rival. She was shot dead in front of their son in 1995.

Cakici’s early release has been a long-term project by Erdogan’s close ally Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who the mobster has been close to for many years. A jubilant Cakici subsequently met Bahceli after he was let go from the prison earlier this year.

Many Turkish nationalists perceive Cakici as a “necessary evil” who served the state by going after “terrorists” in Lebanon and Greece as a hitman, targeting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).

'In a place where rule of law and judiciary don’t exist, the very state itself may become an organised crime state'

- Kemal Kilicdaroglu, CHP leader

Cakici’s involvement with Turkish intelligence has been well-documented, with leaked intelligence reports in the 2000s revealing he was also sheltered by high-ranking officials while police were after him.

A lawyer representing Kilicdaroglu filed a criminal complaint against Cakici on Wednesday, saying Cakici’s threats could spur an armed attack as he is a well-known organised crime leader.

In response to the threat, Kilicdaroglu said that he was saddened by the state that Turkey is in. “In a place where rule of law and judiciary don’t exist, the very state itself may become an organised crime state,” he said.

A flurry of condemnation from high-ranking CHP officials and a hashtag campaign on social media stating “WeWillEndtheMafiaOrder” followed Cakici’s threats.

However, the CHP as a party itself also came under fire by commentators, who noted its Edirne Mayor Recep Gurkan also hosted Cakisi in his office last month. The incident prompted a CHP investigation on the matter. 

Cakici also last month met former interior minister Mehmet Agar, retired general Engin Alan and retired colonel Korkut Eken in Bodrum, which revived a debate in the media over the deep state’s involvement in the affairs of organised crime.