Pro-Erdoğan mafia leader tells prosecutor he stands behind call to take up arms

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Sedat Peker

Sedat Peker, a convicted crime boss who is a devoted supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told a prosecutor on Friday that he stands behind a speech he made that called on supporters of the president to take up arms before local elections to be held on March 31.

The Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had launched an investigation into Turkish mafia leader Peker following negative reactions on social media by critics of the government.

Peker is under investigation for encouraging people to commit a crime and creating animosity among the people.

Addressing an event in İstanbul on Monday, Peker called for supporters of the president to take up arms, claiming that opponents are going to try to delegitimize the election results.

“They are planning to call on their supporters to take to the streets following the elections. Their objective is to mix their supporters with members of terrorist groups and cause destruction across the country. Our police and military are strong, but the children of this country will also come to the defense of the streets,” Peker said.

“That is why those who have the means should acquire licensed firearms. We should absolutely be prepared,” Peker added.

Peker has a long track record of publicly threatening Erdoğan’s dissidents. Most notably, he threatened academics who signed a petition calling for the end of curfews in the predominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern Turkey.

“We will shed blood in streams and take a shower in your blood,” Peker had shouted at the academics during a rally in 2016.

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