Sedat Peker, a pro-government mafia leader in Turkey, in a street interview aired on TV openly threatened followers of the faith-based Gülen movement in general and exiled journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan in particular.
Arslan, who is currently living in Washington, D.C., on Friday tweeted the video of Peker’s threats.
Talking to TV264, the convicted mafia leader vowed to punish Arslan and Gülen movement followers once the state has completed its purge and persecution of alleged sympathizers of the group.
The regime in Turkey holds the movement responsible for a July 2016 coup attempt, although the movement denies any involvement. Since the abortive putsch in particular, a massive purge and persecution of real and perceived followers of the movement have have been ongoing.
“I swear to God I will never forgive them [Gülen supporters]. We will carry out a vendetta against them forever,” Peker said when interviewed in the street in Kocaeli.
Peker said Gülen followers such as Arslan had been tweeting about him. “Those tweets don’t upset me, they only increase the plans I have for them and the severity of the things I will do to them,” the mafia leader went on to say in front of the camera.
Peker is notorious for his frequent threats to segments of society critical of the Turkish government and his support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Laughing at the camera, Peker also vowed that the whole world would witness his vendetta against the Gülen movement and that would be told in fairy tales to children in the future.
In July 2018, the İstanbul Anadolu 20th Penal Court of First Instance acquitted 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 the 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 the 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.