Mafia leader Sedat Peker was given police protection after he vowed to shed rivers of blood at a rally he held to condemn terrorism in the Black Sea province of Rize in 2015, according to a document revealed by an opposition deputy.
Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups, has for the last two weeks been setting the country’s political agenda through videos he releases on YouTube. The videos reach over a million viewers in the first day of their release. Peker, who lives in Dubai and is the subject of an outstanding warrant in Turkey, has been making striking revelations about state-mafia relations and drug trafficking and murders implicating state officials.
In his last video released on Wednesday, Peker made allegations about his relationship with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who recently called him a “dirty mafia leader,” claiming that Soylu’s views of him were different until recently.
In the video Peker said he was even given police protection by the state.
Following Peker’s claims, Ömer Çelik of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said people who have documents proving Peker’s allegations should take legal action.
Prompted by Çelik’s call, Ali Mahir Başarır of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) posted a document on Twitter which showed that Peker was given police protection by the İstanbul Governor’s Office in 2015 following the rally in Rize.
“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 carotid arteries of the world were dissected,” said Peker at the rally targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
One day after Peker’s remarks on Oct.10, 2015, the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of modern Turkey took place in the Turkish capital city of Ankara where 109 civilians were killed and more than 500 others were injured in twin suicide bombings at a pro-Kurdish rally.
No organization has ever claimed responsibility for the attack, but the attackers, who were two brothers, were later found to have had links to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Başarır said the AKP government, which fails to provide police protection to women suffering from domestic violence, provided police protection for a mafia boss whom they now call a “dirty mafia leader.”
The CHP said the police protection for Peker was provided before Soylu became interior minister but continued after he was appointed in August 2016, and hence he should resign.
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 charges in 2018.