Alaattin Çakıcı, a leading figure in the Turkish mafia, on Monday threatened football fans who, shouting from the stands at matches over the weekend, had dared to call on the government to resign over an inadequate earthquake disaster response.
In his rambling twitter post, the former ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves member Çakıcı voiced support for the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, who on Sunday abandoned his membership of the Beşiktaş football club after fans voiced anger at the government.
The mobster suggested the football enthusiasts-cum-protesters were “provocateurs” that used victims of the 6 February twin earthquakes in the country’s south to attack the Turkish Government.
He made accusations over protests sparked at a Fenerbahçe game on Saturday and on Sunday during a match between Beşiktaş and Antalyaspor.
“Whoever organised this treason, whoever actively took responsibility in this treason, may God’s wrath come upon them, those who are committed to their state and nation will never forget this treason,” he said in his long statement, written in poor Turkish.
Çakıcı is no ordinary mafia figure. It is well known that for years he was used by the Turkish intelligence for covert operations inside and outside the country. In early 1990s, he had his wife murdered in front of her son, in an act that displayed his ruthless nature. His wife was the daughter of another prominent Mafioso. Çakıcı has been likened to Turkey’s Al Capone by foreign news outlets.
The mafia boss was released from prison in 2020, by a coronavirus-related law that allowed selected prisoners early release in order to limit the spread of the pandemic.
As a result many in Turkey took Çakıcı’s statement as an ultimatum intended to directly target the opposition. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), immediately responded to the implicit intimidation.
“We will never allow any illegal organisation to threaten our nation, our youth. Everybody should decide which side they support. Are you with young people who are doing all they can to struggle against the earthquake or with those publishing messages of threats on social media,” said the politician on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Bahçeli also used an intimidating tone against the opposition during a speech to his party’s parliamentary group on Tuesday.
“Those who are trying to pull the Turkish sports into politics are making an historical mistake,” Bahçeli said, adding that chanting in stadiums to demand the resignation of the government was disrespectful to those who lost their lives in the earthquakes.
“They are orchestrating an ignominious plot,” he said. “Everybody should be aware of their limits,” he added.
Bahçeli also called on Turkish authorities to identify those who challenge the government.