Erdogan touts girl as future martyr
TURKEY: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come under fire for telling a tearful young girl wearing a military uniform that the country would honour her if she became a martyr.
Erdogan invited the girl on stage during a televised meeting of his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party last Sunday. According to the New York Times, she was 6 years old.
The girl appeared to be sobbing as she walked towards the podium. Erdogan kissed her on both cheeks and indicated a Turkish flag in her pocket.
‘‘If she is martyred, a flag will be put on her, God willing,’’ he told the crowd. ‘‘She is ready for everything, isn’t she?’’ He then gave her a final kiss before letting her go.
It was unclear why the girl, who has not been identified, was dressed in a military uniform.
Those in the audience yelled ‘‘Chief! Take us to Afrin!’’ in reference to an offensive launched by Turkey on January 20 in northwestern Syria. Yesterday, Turkey sent special forces to the Afrin region. after Ankara said a United Nations resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire throughout Syria did not apply to its offensive.
Veli Agbaba, deputy chairman of the main opposition CHP party, said: ‘‘Bringing a little child to the stage in front of thousands of people and blessing death is a big mistake. Children should never be in the shadow of weapons, and should not be the face of wars.’’
Erdogan has previously said he wants to raise a ‘‘pious generation’’. The curriculum in Turkey’s religious vocational schools this year introduced the concept of jihad as being about patriotism. Student intakes at Islamic schools have increased sharply since 2012.
– Telegraph Group
Court won’t review DACA
The US Supreme Court yesterday declined to enter the controversy over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, turning down the Trump administration’s request to immediately review lower court decisions that keep in place the scheme, which protects from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. US President Donald Trump announced in September that he would let the programme expire in March unless Congress acted. Efforts on Capitol Hill to revive DACA as part of a broader deal on immigration policy have failed. Federal district judges in California and New York have issued nationwide injunctions against ending the programme. Trump reacted to the court’s decision by saying: ‘‘We’ll see what happens.’’
Dozens die in PNG quake
More than 30 people, including four children, are believed to have been killed in Papua New Guinea’s 7.6-magnitude earthquake, according to local media. The quake hit the provinces of Southern Highlands and Hela on Monday, cutting communication and transport connections. More than 300 people were reportedly injured. Government chief secretary Isaac Lupari said the PNG Defence Force had been mobilised to help deliver assistance to those affected and to restore services and infrastructure.
Eagle drone plan mocked
Swiss police are attempting to train eagles to intercept armed drones, despite the failure of a similar project in the Netherlands and mixed results in France. The eagle has been an emblem of Geneva since the 15th century, and authorities are now hoping it will help to defend the city as concerns grow that terrorists could deploy drones carrying explosives. A pair of the birds are being schooled to swoop on suspicious drones and land them on the ground. Jonathan Ames, a director of Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation in Kent, England, said: ‘‘It’s a ridiculous idea. It won’t work. Drones are far more manoeuvrable and faster, and you’re risking getting the eagles injured if they get caught or cut by the drone’s rotors.’’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stands with a young girl in a military uniform, whom he said was ‘‘ready for everything’’, as he speaks to members of his Justice and Development Party at a meeting in Kahramanmaras.