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Pro-gov’t mafia leader calls for arming of Muslim Turks after New Zealand attack

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Sedat Peker, a convicted crime boss who is a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called for the arming of regular people such as teachers, imams and small shop owners in a video he posted on social media in reaction to a terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand last week.

Peker’s video on social media was titled “All Muslim Turks around the world should be legally armed for their own protection.”

Peker asked what harm there would be in providing firearms to teachers and security personnel at schools, to imams at mosques and to small shop owners such as grocers, butchers and coffeehouse operators, reiterating a previous call to arms.

Last month, Peker had told a prosecutor 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.

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 dissidents. Most notably, he threatened academics who signed a petition calling for the end of curfews in 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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