The İstanbul Anadolu 20th Penal Court of First Instance has acquitted mafia leader Sedat Peker of threatening academics who demanded the Turkish army halt operations in Turkey’s Southeast in 2015 that killed hundreds of people, displaced thousands and destroyed entire sections of cities.
“We will shed blood in streams and take a shower in your blood,” Peker shouted at the academics during a rally protesting terrorism in Rize province in 2016.
He was indicted following an investigation into his threats by the Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in İstanbul, facing 11 years in prison.
Peker’s lawyer, Turgay Özdoğan, stated that his client’s threats targeted terrorist groups and their supporters, arguing that the academics who signed a petition to halt military operations were supporting terrorism since they had been charged with it.
After release of the petition signed by the Academics For Peace initiative in 2016, Turkish prosecutors opened criminal investigations into the signatories, some of whom were later convicted of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” by courts.
However, the court trying mafia leader Peker ruled to acquit him of charges of “issuing threats” and “inciting the commission of a crime.”
Peker has been detained by police several times since the 1990s for establishing a criminal organization. In 2005, he was arrested and later sentenced to 14 years, five months and 10 days in prison.
While he was in prison, his name was also included in the Ergenekon case, an investigation into retired soldiers, bureaucrats and journalists over plotting a coup attempt.
Peker was released in March 2014.