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Nationalist Party’s Amnesty Proposal to Set Free Notorious Mafia Kingpin, Others

A general amnesty proposal made by Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is likely to lead to release of 163 thousand people, including a wellknown organized crime boss and an author who is responsible for the death of three people in a car crash and thousands of drug traffickers.

The bill that has not passed the Parliament yet first came to public attention when MHP leader Devlet Bahceli paid a visit in late May to organized crime leader Alaattin Cakici in hospital as the latter was taken from prison, where he is serving his time, shortly after suggesting general amnesty.

Bahceli openly advocated Cakici’s release, calling him a “hero” and claiming he is severly ill. The MHP leader asked Erdogan to use his power of amnesty for Cakici, ahead of the June 24 general and presidential elections.

Turkish daily Vatan revealed on Tuesday more details surfacing on the MHP’s amnesty bill that is going to grant five years of commutation to offenders of crimes committed before May 2018. They would be released and stay under judicial control in their last year of sentence.

The amnesty will not apply to those convicted of crimes such as “sexual assault”, “genocide”, “homicide”, “child abuse”, “crimes against the state, the government, national defense, the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and the Law on Forests”.

The fact that the MHP’s proposal aims to free Cakici has drawn public backlash. Over 50 thousand convicts implicated in drug trafficking crimes are also among those to be released, while the MHP asserts that the bill would mostly favor marijuana vendors, as young as teenagers.

Cakici was convicted of “founding an organized crime group and running it”, “instigation to murder”, “instigation to physical injury”, “shooting at a car” and “insulting the president”.

He was originally sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly “instigating murder” of his wife in 1995. His sentence was later reduced to 19 years. He was also handed down three years of prison term for allegedly instigating physical injury on journalist Hincal Uluc.

Another controversial figure who would be released if the bill passes is Emrah Serbes, a screenwriter and author, know for his screenplay in a popular TV show. Serbes was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison, after crashing into a car from behind while driving drunk on a highway and causing the death of a man, his wife and their 16-year-old daughter.

Serbes, who was determined to have exceeded the speed limit, made the headlines for initially blaming the car crash on his friend, who switched seats with him, taking the driver’s seat, right after the incident. His friend was arrested after wrongly pleading guilty to the crime.

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