Days after Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, from his exile in Montenegro, revealed that he was meeting with Zoran Zaev during his stay in Macedonia, Zaev’s cabinet formally denied the claim. But, the citizens are at a loss who to believe.

Peker resided in Macedonia for months in late 2020 and early 2021, meeting with ethnic Turkish members of the Parliament and businessmen, all of them close to the Zaev regime. He also visited municipalities to bring donations and was often filmed being welcomed as royalty. In January he was given an identity card by the Interior Ministry under an assumed identity, but shortly after, apparently under pressure from Turkey, he was deported. The Zaev regime did not extradite him to Turkey but sent him to Kosovo and he eventually made his way to Montenegro.

In a video statement, Peker mocked claims that he was on the run, and bragged about his stay in Macedonia, revealing that he met with the “leader of that country, in his home”.

While President Pendarovski is also sometimes seen in the company of criminals, it’s widely assumed that Peker meant Zaev when he made the statement. Zaev is investing heavily in the marijuana business and is often seen in the company of the local and regional underworld.

We have Peker’s word versus Zaev’s word and truth be told, we know that Zaev is not to be trusted. We’ve seen him put his hand on his heart and promise us that he’s telling the truth too many times, and always he ended up lying to us, said the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party.

The investigation into the issuing of passports and identity cards by the Macedonian Interior Ministry to numerous drug lords, Serbian hitmen, Italian drug money launderers and ISIS commanders is being quickly swept under the rug by the Zaev regime, with token sentences for low level clerks in the Ministry and no investigation into the higher ups who have been involved in the scandal.