Erdogan ally resigns after allegations from crime boss

·2-min read

A top member of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party has resigned following a string of corruption allegations levelled through social media by a fugitive crime boss.

Convicted felon Sedat Peker has gained a cult following in Turkey by using YouTube and Twitter to accuse top members of Erdogan's team of everything from graft to drug smuggling and even murder.

Peker is believed to be hiding out in the United Arab Emirates and saw his lavish property in Istanbul confiscated last week.

The 51-year-old openly admits to being a crime boss and claims to have incriminating evidence stacked away on his phone against top officials who allegedly deal with the Turkish underworld.

Most of his videos rack up millions of views.

His latest Twitter posts last weekend accused a string of officials of seeking bribes from companies trading on the stock exchange.

One of them concerned Korkmaz Karaca -- an executive in Erdogan's AKP ruling party and a member of the Presidential Economic Policy Board.

Karaca said on Twitter that the "ongoing immoral troll lynching campaign on social media" was damaging his health and ruining his family life.

"This lynching, which has reached my beautiful daughter and wife, has become a threat to my health again. For these reasons, I am resigning from my post," he said late Tuesday.

He denied the allegations and argued that he never met the people mentioned by the crime boss.

Another Erdogan adviser implicated by Peker resigned last Sunday.

Peker's popularity stems in part from his oratory skills and his free admission that he is guilty of many of the same crimes he accuses the government of being involved in.

His allegations also feed into a growing perception of government waste and corruption in the second decade of Erdogan's dominant rule.

Erdogan rose to power vowing to root out the graft that blemished successive secular governments in the 1980s and 1990s.

But polls show the public accusing Erdogan's Islamic-rooted party of the same bad habits in the runup to next year's general election.

Turkey's main opposition parties demanded a formal investigation into Peker's latest allegations this week.

zak/fo /yad