Sezai Temelli, deputy leader of the People’s Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, has highlighted the continued links between state officials and organised crime, commenting on the murder trial of Sinan Ateş, former leader of the far-right Grey Wolves. Ateş was shot dead in Ankara on 30 December 2022, prompting significant resignations from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).


Sezai Temelli, deputy leader of the People’s Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, highlighted the continued links between state officials and organised crime during the murder trial of former Grey Wolves leader Sinan Ateş.

The trial, which began on 1 July, centres on the murder of Sinan Ateş, an academic and former leader of Turkey’s far-right Grey Wolves organisation, who was shot dead in Ankara on 30 December 2022. In response to the controversial murder, numerous members of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) publicly announced their resignations on social media.

Doğukan Cep, a gang member who had been on the run for five years, was arrested for orchestrating Ateş’s murder. Cep had previously been sentenced to 62 years in prison in 2018 on various charges, including membership of a drug gang. He was released during the coronavirus pandemic and remained at large. During his interrogation by the police, Cep claimed that he did not intend to kill Ateş, but to wound him as a threat. Cep expressed his anger at Ateş for not helping him with a legal problem when Ateş was the leader of the Grey Wolves.

Speaking about the ongoing trial, Temelli pointed out that the judge had not taken into account Cep’s confessions. Temelli questioned the indifference of the judge and prosecutor, stressing the importance of such confessions in exposing the mentality behind organised crime.

He argued that these confessions revealed the enduring and clandestine relationship between the state apparatus and criminal organisations. Temelli referred to former Interior Minister Mehmet Ağar’s comment, ‘If I pull one brick, the wall will collapse’, to underline the longstanding and pervasive nature of these illicit links.

Ağar made this statement to Güldal Mumcu, the wife of the journalist Uğur Mumcu, who was assassinated on 24 January 1993 in a still unsolved murder.

Temelli concluded his remarks by criticising the state’s reliance on criminal organisations to maintain power, saying: “If your wall is based on one brick, and if that wall is so rotten that it stands with the support of gangs and the mafia, then let the wall collapse and let it bury you under it.”

Eren Keskin, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist, had also previously drawn attention to Sinan Ateş’s case in an article, noting that it was an example of a political structure that is constantly protected by the hidden power of the state, ensuring its continued existence.

As the trial continues, commentators question the depth of the alleged state-criminal nexus.