Turkey has been going through some promising developments in recent days. After the change in the leadership of Interior Affairs Ministry, a series of critical investigations has started to take place especially in the fields of drug trade, illicit trade and smuggling. Süleyman Soylu who served as the previous minister of interior affairs had received a considerable amount of criticism in terms of his approach to some illegal people and networks. Back in 2018, mobile telephones used by Süleyman Soylu were monitored in an illegal manner by police officers under his command. With two inquiries started by inspectors in Ankara and Istanbul a Police General Directorate Intelligence Office Assistant Director and six police officers were assigned to new posts.
In 2021, I wrote a piece about “clean politics” for Modern Diplomacy. In my piece, I had made reference to TJ Brown’s article titled “The Myth of Clean Politics” as the following:
“The game of politics is about favors and special interests, money exchanging hands, deals being made, sometimes under the table and other times in plain sight. Powerful people have always had an advantage in influencing the process. But when it comes to politics, people claim to not want competition; rather they demand fairness, equality, and virtue.”
Following Brown, it can be said that people in Turkey today demand fairness, equality, and virtue more than any time before. The operations and investigations that have started under the leadership of the new Minster of Interior Affairs Ali Yerlikaya are quite promising in terms of fairness and rule of law. A few days ago, famous social media influencer Dilan Polat and her husband were taken into custody for alleged offenses related to “Preventing the Laundering of Crime Revenues” and “Violation of Laws on Tax Procedure, Betting, and Games of Chance in Football and Other Sports Competitions.” Polat used to post videos on her social media account talking about the support her family received from Süleyman Soylu. According to journalist Murat Yetkin, 15 companies belonging to Dilan and Engin Polat were searched. Yetkin notes that, in “an investigation in which the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance is involved, every document that may have been destroyed in the intervening period means that another relationship and irregularity is hidden from the state.”
Another positive development that happened with the rule of the new minister Ali Yerlikaya is the bust of an international criminal organization Comanchero. Police arrested 37 suspects in Istanbul. The international crime organization Comanchero has been dismantled during operations in Istanbul, Ali Yerlikaya said on platform X.
Turkey witnesses some exciting developments. Under Yerlikaya’s office, Turkey seems very determined in fighting against several organized crimes including money laundering and illicit trade. Dilan Polat and Comanchero investigations seem like a start for broader big operations that may lead to clean politics (at least in some terms). I hope this is not just a wishful thinking and it becomes true!