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Mafia boss points to role of pro-gov’t group in his threats against critics

Sedat Peker, a well-known Turkish mob boss, is seen making a statement on November 23, 2018.

Notorious Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker has claimed it was a “joint idea” for him to vow to “shed rivers of blood” at a rally to condemn terrorism in Rize after the 2015 elections, referring to SADAT, a paramilitary group established by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former aide Adnan Tanrıverdi, according to local media reports on Thursday.

“It was a joint idea for me to call for arms to create a climate of fear in the country. You can’t say you hadn’t known beforehand that I was going to vow to shed blood. The … recordings of the meetings I had held a few days before that day [of the rally] will also be revealed,” Peker tweeted on Thursday.

At a rally on October 9, 2015 Peker, targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a designated terrorist group that has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984, said: “They are making a big mistake. When they realize their mistake, it will be too late. We will shed their blood in rivers as if the arteries of the world were slashed.”

One day after Peker’s remarks the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of modern Turkey took place in Ankara in which 109 civilians were killed and more than 500 others injured in twin suicide bombings at a pro-Kurdish rally.

No organization has ever claimed responsibility for the attack, but the perpetrators were later found to have had links to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Turkey entered a spiral of violence after the elections of June 7, 2015, in which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority for the first time since the party came to power in 2002, while the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) garnered over 10 percent of the vote and entered the Turkish parliament for the first time in its history.

Following a series of terrorist attacks, which many had believed was the work of Turkish intelligence, Erdoğan called for a snap election in November 2015 to restore his rule and regain the majority.

Following his controversial remarks in Rize, Peker also threatened 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 your blood in streams and take a shower in your blood,” Peker said in a statement released on his personal website in January 2016 targeting the academics whom he accused of supporting the PKK.

He was indicted following an investigation into his threats, facing 11 years in prison, but was acquitted of the charges in 2018.

Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, has since early May been setting the country’s political agenda through shocking revelations he has been making on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking and murders implicating former and current state officials and their family members.

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