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How did the Turkish mafia exhaust the Americans?

Let me start with a self-criticism, as it is directly relevant to the subject. Yes, I too once supported Erdoğan and the AKP government. I was never in a ‘partisan’ status, but I believed that Erdoğan could truly transform Turkey, and could be a model to its region and the Islamic world.

Yes, I confess; I was too naïve.

But fortunately, I am not the only one deceived. Not only Turkey, but also the EU and the USA were mistaken. Erdoğan, who was praised and featured on the cover of TIME with ‘Erdoğan’s Way,’ turned into a typical dictator after 2010.

Meanwhile, I must note that, strangely enough, those who have been supporting all the unlawful acts of the Erdoğan regime for the last ten years keep saying whenever the subject comes up, “You brought this trouble on us, you supported him!”

Firstly, it was the February 28 mentality and the bureaucracy that made Erdoğan a trouble for Turkey and even the world. If you hadn’t meddled with people’s headscarves and beliefs, if you hadn’t imposed ridiculous bans, people wouldn’t have supported Erdoğan reluctantly.

Secondly; the segment I am also a part of supported Erdoğan when he was doing good things. Support in areas where everyone would agree, like EU reforms, democratization, ending military-bureaucratic hegemony, and economic improvements, is portrayed as if it were a crime.

The real crime, however, is witnessing all kinds of unlawfulness, corruption, immorality, and supporting the regime’s July 15 thesis, which they knew was fake. Today’s ‘so-called opponents’ are doing this.

This topic needs more discussion, so let’s get to the main point.

There was a time when not only journalists but also ordinary people knew generals, high judges, senior police officers by heart. TV screens were full of analysis like ‘this general said that’ ‘that general looked sideways’ ‘this prosecutor raised one eyebrow’.

Erdoğan ended military and bureaucratic guardianship, but it’s not possible to say that we’ve arrived at a good place. We fought so that the military would not interfere in politics and politics and society would not be designed by the military and civilian bureaucracy.

Look where we have come!

The military, the high judiciary, the police, the ambassadors, all of them have turned into AKP district chairpersons. Today, we don’t talk about generals or high judges, but now we all suddenly became experts on the mafia. Blood-handed mafia leaders are setting the tone on screens like opinion leaders.

We all know gangs like Ayhan Bora Kaplan’s gang, Barış Boyun’s gang, the Daltons, and so on by heart. The place Erdoğan has brought the country to is truly a spectacle. And it’s not just limited to Turkey. The Turkish mafia is now on the world’s agenda, in ways you would never imagine.

For example, the leader of Barış Boyun’s gang was caught in Italy a few days ago. The Italian police’s file on him is comprehensive! On the American front, however, there is a different issue: the refugee mafia. Over the past four years, more than 50,000 Turks have fled to the USA via Mexico!

They literally ‘fled.’

The number is increasing every day. Even a Turkish illegal who appeared on American Fox TV yesterday is currently among the most discussed on social media.

There’s a lot to be said about what this man said. He just entered the country illegally two minutes ago, gave $10,000 to the mafia, and says, “Americans are right, I’m good, but bad ones are coming too.” As I said, a lot can be said about this friend’s comment, but let me continue from the ‘10,000 dollars’ part.

Yes, there is a strong mafia working on illegal crossings from Latin America to America. I say strong because they have members in the most effective places in Ankara.

Let me explain; the escapes from Mexico to America began with people from Ağrı in 2020. Call it exploitation or entrepreneurship, the refugee mafia follows these ‘opportunities’ well.

Seeing that there was a way, they started transporting people in droves from Turkey. The governments of Mexico and America imposed some restrictions, but the mafia found new methods. Eventually, restrictions were placed on Turks flying to Latin American countries, starting with Brazil. It’s shameful on Turkey’s part, but the ordeal should have ended with the ban imposed on THY.

Those who pay thousands of dollars to the mafia to land in the USA must apply for political asylum. They need to prove that they are under the oppression of the current regime, at risk of arrest and torture.

This is where the ‘white-collar’ part of the mafia (or should I say red-collared?) comes into play. Even before leaving Turkey, the necessary documents are prepared for refugee candidates. There are two main reasons here.

If you are a bit darker-skinned and mainly from the East and Southeast, you say you are affiliated with the HDP and at risk of arrest. The rest, as you might guess, claim to be affiliated with the Gülen Movement. Even if they were staunch supporters of the AKP or MHP in Turkey, they present themselves as Gülenists to seek asylum in the USA.

The gang prepares ostensibly real but practically fabricated detention, arrest, and conviction orders for them. For example, there are those who charge two thousand dollars for a ‘detention by FETÖ’ document. The document is prepared but not entered into the system. Well, the cruelty of the Erdoğan regime is infamous, and a Turk with a document gets the right of residence.

The business has spread so much that rival mafia groups have even formed. Americans, however, are quite thoughtful. Because they have to grant asylum rights to anyone who comes with an arrest, detention, or conviction order. At least they cannot send them back.

However, those who are really victimized are becoming even more victimized. Because their files are also delayed. Imagine; the Erdoğan regime has victimized you in Turkey, taken your job, home, freedom. You’ve braved everything, crossed the Meriç, stepped into a country where you could be free, and here you are still a victim of the AKP.

Western states, especially the USA, are busy spending extra money to verify documents. For instance, the leader of the Barış Boyun gang caught in Italy introduced himself as a Kurdish asylum seeker.

On the other hand, humorous situations arise during asylum interviews. Normally, these people, who have no real connection with the Gülen Movement or HDP, encounter challenging questions. What is in such-and-such book by Gülen? What are the names of your spouse’s children? Some have had difficult moments with such questions.

In summary; the country surrendered to the mafia, the streets turned into the Wild West. So much so that Turkey’s mafia problem is now also the world’s problem.

I don’t know what to say about those who are staunch AKP-MHP supporters in Turkey but present themselves as ‘Gülenists’ or ‘HDP members’ when they go to the USA or Europe.

But it’s not surprising.

Let’s conclude with Ali Bulaç’s historic observation; “The AKP is the biggest disaster that has befallen Turkey since the Battle of Gallipoli.”

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Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Aslan is a leading Turkish investigative journalist in exile based in Washington, D.C.
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