Australia’s most wanted man Hakan Ayik has been arrested in Turkey in one of the most significant developments in the country’s underworld history. WATCH THE VIDEO
The former Sydney Comanchero bikie has been wanted by Australian authorities since he left Australia in 2010.
An article on Turkish newspaper SonDakika.com refers to the arrests on Thursday.
In it they detailed the arrest of Ayik as well as other known Australian figures Hakan Arif, known as “Little Hux”.
Baris Tukel, Erkan Dogan and SIbel Arif are also on the list of names.
Vision shows the men being arrested by heavily armed police and large wads of cash being seized.
The Turkish website reported that in total “37 people were captured, including Hakan Ayik, the leader of the organisation”.
An estimated AUD$250 million in assets was seized during the raid, the Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs Ali Yerlikaya announced through his Twitter account about 6pm AEDT.
In the usual post, accompanied by a dramatic video of the raids, Minister Yerlikaya referenced other high profile incidents relating to the Comanchero bikie gang – including the murder of Mick Hawi in Sydney in 2018.
He then claimed the men had been living in Turkey to “launder the income they obtained” as a result of alleged crimes, including drugs.
“Gang leaders, along with Turkish citizen organization managers and members, as well as foreign national organization members, come to our country and continue their criminal activities, and try to deliver the drugs they procured from South America to Australia, the Netherlands and Hong Kong via South Korea and South Africa, and commit them on a global scale,” his statement read.
“It has been determined that they are trying to launder the income they obtained from crimes in our country.”
It is alleged that Ayik was wanted on an Interpol red notice by authorities in both Australia and the United States.
Hakan Arif is wanted on an Interpol red notice in Australia, while Baris Tukel is wanted on an Interpol red notice in the United States.
Ayik, also known as Big Hux or the Facebook Gangster, rose to become one of the biggest drug importers in the world while living in exile in Turkey. He has had plastic surgery several times to change his appearance.
The arrest by Turkish authorities today is one of the most significant in the country’s underworld history.
In a statement, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) acknowledged “the Turkish National Police for undertaking one of the most significant operations targeting alleged transnational serious organised criminals, some of whom are accused of illicit drug trafficking to Australia and around the world.”
“Turkiye is a regional leader in the global fight against transnational serious organised crime,” it read.
“The AFP is posted in Turkiye and has witnessed the Turkish National Police’s determination in disrupting, arresting and charging alleged organised crime figures.
“The AFP, through its international command, continues to work with its international partners to combat transnational serious organised crime.
“The AFP has provided support to the Turkish National Police through Operation Gain and the AFP’s Post in Ankara.”
Despite the magnitude of the arrests, informed sources in both federal and state police forces said there is little likelihood that Ayik will return Australia, because of his Turkish citizenship.
Underworld sources said they similarly Ayik did not expect to be extradited, and believed the notorious figure was steeling himself for doing some time in a Turkish prison.
Ayik’s wealth is estimated to be at more than AUD$800 million, due to his role as the head of the Comanchero and the drug cartel.
More to come