A crime boss who called on a crowd to take up arms against political parties opposed to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not be prosecuted.
The daily Birgun newspaper reported that the prosecutor’s office had said a call for acquiring licensed guns did not constitute a crime, as it was a legal right for everyone to have licensed weapons.
It was, therefore, abandoning the prosecution against Sedat Peker, who was accused of inciting hatred and abetting a criminal act by calling for arming on February 3 in Istanbul’s Atasehir district.
He was being investigated by the Chief Public Prosecutor in Anadolu.
At the February 3 political rally, Istanbul’s Atasehir district Peker said: “We are crazy people of this country, we are the bouncers. They [opposition] already say they don’t recognize the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK). They are planning to call people to the street, after the election result [should they lose]. The purpose of this, members of terrorist organizations will also join the opposition and they plan to burn and destroy the country. Our police, our troops are strong, but the children of this country will also protect the streets of this country along with security forces.”
In the aftermath of the March 31 local government elections, Peker released a written statement, declaring he was ready to perform any duty that the state orders.
“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’s statement read.
Peker, a hard-line Turkish nationalist, was previously convicted of crimes including establishing a criminal organization.
The convicted mob leader, notoriously known as an Erdogan loyalist, called on Turkey’s citizens to rally behind Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its people’s alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), since his release from prison in 2014.
Ultra-nationalist Peker, 47, was sentenced to 14 years and 5 months in jail in 2007 within the scope of the “Kelebek Operation”.
In 2013, he was also sentenced to ten years in jail in Ergenekon case, a high-profile trial of 275 secularist and military people accused of plotting against the AKP government. However, he was released in 2014 as a law amendment allowed for the release detainees, who had completed five years of their sentence.
Since his release, the gang leader has a long track record of explicitly threatening Erdogan’s critics and opposition parties.
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 southeastern 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 were also launched in that case against Peker on charges of “incitement to commit a crime” and “incitement of hatred and enmity”, the courts also dropped those charges saying his threats did not lead to any criminal activity.