Sedat Peker, a Turkish mafia boss who is also a supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Monday said, “If our government wants us to take to the streets [against the opposition], we will.”
Peker previously called on people to obtain firearms because there was a “plot” by some higher powers to turn Turkey into another Venezuela, where dissidents took to the streets against President Nicolás Maduro.
“But if the government tells us to patiently stay at home, we will stay at home,” Peker added in a written statement for evaluating the local elections on his personal website.
In 2016 he threatened academics who had signed a petition to protest Turkey’s military operations in predominantly Kurdish southeastern cities, but a Turkish court acquitted him of any wrongdoing.
“We will shed blood in streams and take a shower in your blood,” he told the academics.
Peker has been detained by police several times since the 1990s for establishing a criminal organization. In 2005 he was arrested and later sentenced to 14 years, five months and 10 days in prison.
While he was in prison, his name was also included in the Ergenekon case, an investigation into retired soldiers, bureaucrats and journalists for allegedly plotting a coup attempt.
Peker was released in March 2014.
Although he was mostly seen as affiliated with the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), after his release Peker became a supporter of the Erdoğan government.