Convicted crime boss calls on Turks to acquire weapons before elections

Sedat Peker, a convicted leader of a criminal organisation in Turkey, called on the public to support an alliance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while urging them to carry weapons  ahead of the March 31 local elections, independent news site T24 reported.

"A weapon is insurance in the hands of good people," Peker said on Monday at the opening of a restaurant in İstanbul’s Ataşehir district.

"They are already saying that they won’t  recognise the YSK [Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council], and they are going to have their party members and people take to the streets depending on the election results… our police and our military are strong, however, and the children of this country will also protect the streets of this nation," the 47-year-old said. "As such, those who have the means should acquire licensed guns, shot guns, they should definitely be ready.’’

Peker’s statements come as Turkey prepares to head to polls that are seen by some analysts as a referendum on the AKP’s rule.

Peker, who has twice been convicted in Turkey of crimes including leadership of a criminal organisation, has been an outspoken supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since his release from prison in 2014.

The hard line nationalist known for using violent rhetoric called for the violent death of academics, known as Academics for Peace, who had signed a petition in January 2016 calling on Turkey to de-escalate a conflict with Kurdish armed groups in the country’s southeast.