On April 16, Turkish authorities released notorious mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı under a new law meant to counter the widespread of coronavirus in the country’s prisons by releasing tens of thousands of inmates.
Çakıcı, who started his life as a fugitive, reportedly worked for the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT), carrying out covert operations for the agency abroad Turkey.
In 1980, Çakıcı built a reputation as one of Turkey’s notorious crime bosses. He was indicted in 1995 for contracting the killing of his wife in front of their son before fleeing abroad. In 1998, France arrested Çakıcı and extradited him to Turkey, where he stayed in prison up until 2002.
Çakıcı was extradited again in 2004, this time from Austria. He was sanctioned to 26 years and eight months in jail for leading a criminal organization, ordering a murder and instigating assault.
Aside from his past work with the MİT and his criminal activities, Çakıcı is known to be a former member of the ultra-nationalist organization Grey Wolves.
To this day, Çakıcı enjoys good relations with Devlet Bahçeli, president of the far-right political party MHP who visited him in prison. Bahçeli’s party is now allied to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headed by President Recep Tyyipe Erdogan.
The Turkish Parliament approved the law which allowed the release of Çakıcı on April 14. At least 90,000 inmates will be released under the law, which is supposedly meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The AKP was among the main backers of the bill.
The law was widely criticized by the Turkish opposition for covering people like Çakıcı, while excluding tens of thousands of people in jail on ‘terrorism charges’ detained simply for criticizing the government.