A convicted leader of an organized criminal gang has sent shockwaves after declaring he is ready to perform any duty that the state orders in a written statement released on Monday as Turkey’s ruling party continued to cast doubt on the results of the March 31 local polls.
“We [are ready to] perform any duty that our state orders. If it says ‘take to the streets,’ we take to the streets,” Sedat Peker said in a statement.
Known as a hard-line outspoken supporter of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan notably since his release from prison in 2014, Peker accused Erdogan’s dissidents of creating a false perception of him and his words.
“They [Erdogan’s foes] try to turn my lovely country into Venezuela one day. Therefore, I said some good people with financial capacity must buy licensed firearms. They try to create a perception as if I said that we would kill all dissidents after the local elections,” Peker argued, referring to his speech in Istanbul’s Atasehir district on February 4.
Peker later repeated his threatening discourse, saying: “Whatever our state orders, we [are ready to] perform. If it says -take to the streets-, we take to the streets. If it says -be patient and stay at home-, we stay at home.”
Peker has a long track record of explicitly threatening Erdogan’s dissidents.
The most recent one was his speech on February 4. He called on Erdogan’s supporters to arm themselves before the upcoming local election.
“Our police, our troops are strong, but the children of this country will also protect the streets of this country along with security forces,” said Peker.
During an anti-terror protest in the northern province of Rize in January 2016, Peker threatened academics who signed a peace petition calling on Turkey to end violence against Kurds and curfews in the predominantly Kurdish south-eastern region of Turkey.
“We will shed blood in streams and take a shower in your blood,” Peker said one day after Erdogan targeted academics and labeled them terrorist supporters.
Although investigations have been launched against Peker on charges of “incitement to commit a crime” and “incitement of hatred and enmity”, the courts have dropped the charges so far, saying his threats did not lead to any action.