A video surfaced on social media on Tuesday featuring Yusuf Ziya Küpelioğlu, a man from the Silivri district of Istanbul, threatening members of the political opposition and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey.
Küpelioğlu, who is believed to be a small-time local mafia wannabe, claims that if the opposition wins the upcoming elections, Turkey will be plunged into chaos, which he will take advantage of to target HDP members and journalists.
In the video, Küpelioğlu claims to have a list of local HDP members, that he knows their whereabouts and states that he is ready to make life a “living hell” for anyone who opposes his views. He expresses a desire for the opposition Republican People’s Party candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to win the election and release Selahattin Demirtaş, HDP’s imprisoned former co-chair, claiming that such a move would cause chaos in the country, and he is ready to exploit that chaos to further his agenda.
Despite the gravity of his threats, there is yet to be an investigation launched against him, raising concerns among some, given photos of him with the Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu. These photos have led to questions regarding whether there is a link between Küpelioğlu’s threats and those in power.
However, Küpelioğlu has reportedly lost the support of local power brokers and is attempting to gain attention and support by making exaggerated nationalist claims. Reports indicate that he has previously organised attacks on representatives of fan groups from Silivrispor football club and is being used by rivals in local power struggles.