ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkey has sent a request to the United Arab Emirates to detain and repatriate Sedat Peker, a convicted Turkish mob boss, after Interpol issued a red notice for him, the state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.
Peker, 50, rose to prominence in the 1990s as a gangland figure and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2007 for crimes including forming and leading a criminal gang. He was released several years ago.
Turkish authorities began another investigation into Peker in April last year. Soon after, he drew millions of viewers on YouTube when he began sharing videos in which he detailed corruption allegations against top officials in President Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Erdogan has denied the allegations.
The videos were filmed in the UAE, with which Turkey has recently worked to mend long-strained relations. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm whether Peker is currently in the Gulf Arab country.
Peker was questioned by Dubai police in June but was later released. He has not posted any videos since last summer, saying that the UAE had asked him to refrain from doing so.
He had also been speaking to journalists who have relayed his allegations of corruption on social media. Although he was active on Twitter even after the videos stopped, Peker has not tweeted since the end of November.
When asked about the media reports, a spokesperson for Interpol, the global police agency, referred Reuters to Turkish authorities for information. Istanbul prosecutors declined to confirm the reports.
In Peker’s videos, he made allegations regarding suspicious deaths, rape and drug dealing, and alleged links to officials close to Erdogan, especially Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
Political parties have sought to capitalise on the dispute, with the main opposition calling for Soylu to resign.
Earlier this month, Erdogan was welcomed with a lavish ceremony in the UAE as he visited the Gulf country to mark an end to the period of animosity. The countries signed a flurry of economic agreements during his trip.
In November, Interpol elected Emirati Inspector General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi as its president, despite accusations from rights groups that he failed to act on allegations of torture of detainees in the UAE. The UAE government has denied such accusations.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Mark Heinrich)