Sedat Peker’s lawyer speaks to Medyascope – Where is Peker, what is he doing, and will he post videos again?

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by Aytuğ Özçolak

translated by Leo Kendrick

Sedat Peker, the organized crime leader who made headlines last year with a series of videos on the internet alleging corruption and criminal activity at the highest levels of Turkish government, has been silent since November 2021. An agreement made between Peker and authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he resides, has been cited as the main reason for this. Medyascope spoke with Peker’s lawyer, Ersan Barkın, about his latest status and allegations that he will resume releasing videos again when the upcoming 2023 election period approaches.

Where is Peker and what is he doing?

Stating that he met with Peker more than once a week, Barkın said the following about Peker’s current life:

“I know that he has stayed in the same residence almost since he went to the United Arab Emirates. My meetings with him always take place in the same place. We meet not only by phone but also often by video conference. He, his wife, and children have resided in the same place since they left for the United Arab Emirates. I can say that their social life is like in Turkey. Even here, the family did not have a very free social life. As I understand it, they lead their lives carefully and cautiously without risking their own safety.“

Will he post videos again?

Barkın said the following regarding Halk TV writer İsmail Saymaz’s claim in a recent article that “Peker is said to be preparing to speak out when the election approaches”:

“I have no knowledge of the issues İsmail Saymaz mentioned in his statements. However, I have never seen Mr. Saymaz make an evaluation with Mr. Peker or any other subject without having sufficient examination and knowledge.”

How did he make a deal with the UAE?

Barkın described Peker’s agreement with the UAE as a “gentleman’s agreement”:

“He abides by the gentleman’s agreement with the United Arab Emirates that he must comply with. As far as I know, this is not a written agreement. However, last year, a request was made that he not post due to feared political consequences. He acted accordingly given the situation. The main reason for this demand is related to the protection of his own life safety. He hasn’t posted since November. However, I have no legal knowledge about the content of the agreement. The information we have on this subject is what he has explained.”

What about the lawsuits and red notice requests?

Stating that he met with his client Sedat Peker whenever he needed legal assistance, Barkın gave information about the ongoing cases in Turkey about Peker:

“The Republic of Turkey has a red notice request from both the Bursa 5th High Criminal Court and the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court. The file in Bursa was combined with the file at the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court. Last month, the 5th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court did not approve of this decision and decided that two cases, namely the cases of two organizations, should be heard in two courts. Therefore, there is an organization case with 92 defendants pending at the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court, and there is a case defined as the “Köfteci Yusuf case” in Bursa. Peker has a red notice request in both cases. The red notice is enforced by Interpol. The demands of the Republic of Turkey and the defense of Mr. Peker were received by Interpol. No final evaluation has taken place at this time. Therefore, the execution of the red notice by the United Arab Emirates is not on the table at the moment.”

Will Peker be extradited to Turkey?

Barkın explained that while there is currently no legal reason for Peker’s extradition, the issue also has a political dimension:

“The issue of his extradition is a purely political situation. Our legal answer is: ‘First, there is a red notice request and this request has not been finalized. Second, there is no extradition agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. Thirdly, the United Arab Emirates is not a party to any international extradition treaty.’ But of course, even if there is no extradition treaty, there may well be extradition. There are many examples. It depends on the political relationship between the Turkish state and the UAE. And, of course, the extent to which the cases in Turkey justify extradition is also important. I am of the opinion that the Emiratis will take this into account. After all, it is not a tribal state.”

What is Sedat Peker’s plan?

Regarding whether Sedat Peker has any plans for the future, Ersan Barkın said:

“I have no idea about his personal ideas and plans because of the nature of our relationship. In other words, he is mindful of an attorney’s boundaries just like I am. Therefore, he does not share any information with me that does not contribute to legal proceedings.”

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