ISTANBUL – Istanbul prosecutors said Tuesday they had opened an investigation into the murder of a Turkish Cypriot journalist 25 years ago after a mob leader said last month the killing was ordered by a former Turkish minister.
Condemned gang leader Sedat Peker’s unconfirmed claims on YouTube about extrajudicial killings in the 1990s have put the unsolved murders of hundreds of people back on the agenda in Turkey that decade.
In a video watched by 17 million Turks, Peker said he hired his brother in 1996 to kill journalist Kutlu Adali on the orders of a former minister.
Peker said his brother Atilla was unable to carry out the killing, although Adali was shot dead shortly afterwards in July 1996.
Atilla Peker was arrested nine days ago shortly after his brother’s video was released.
Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office Anadolu said Tuesday that it had opened a new investigation into Adali’s murder on the basis of a request from Atilla Peker that “contained various allegations”.
Efforts have been made to obtain information and documents from Turkish Cypriot judicial authorities about the killing, in addition to gathering potential evidence in Turkey.
It was said that a detailed explanation would be adopted by Atilla Peker.
An initial investigation at the time of Adali’s murder did not reveal those responsible. The European Court of Human Rights fined Turkey in 2005 for failure to conduct “a proper and effective investigation into the circumstances of the murder”.
Sedat Peker, 49, was best known as a gangster figure in the 1990s and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2007 for crimes such as forming and leading a criminal gang.
He said he was now in Dubai despite Reuters unable to verify his whereabouts. In total, the eight videos he uploaded were viewed more than 70 million times.
Peker’s allegations against current and former government officials also include rape, drug trafficking and undercover arms deliveries.
President Tayyip Erdogan and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, one of the people Peker has targeted so far, firmly deny the allegations. Soylu said the allegations were a conspiracy against the country.