Er­do­gan crit­i­cized for speak­ing of mar­tyr­dom for small girl

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

ANKARA: Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has come un­der crit­i­cism for telling a small girl dressed in a mil­i­tary uni­form that she would be hon­ored if she were “mar­tyred” for Tur­key.

Er­do­gan spot­ted the weep­ing-and-salut­ing 6-year-old Amine Ti­ras while de­liv­er­ing a speech at his rul­ing party's congress in the city of Kahra­man­maras on Satur­day, and had her brought on stage.

Af­ter try­ing to com­fort the girl by kiss­ing her on both cheeks, Er­do­gan told the crowd: “She has the Turk­ish flag in her pocket. If she be­comes a mar­tyr, God will­ing, this flag will be draped on her.”

Some peo­ple were ap­palled and took to Twit­ter to crit­i­cize the pres­i­dent.

One user said it was the state's duty to pro­tect chil­dren, not to “kill” them. An­other said: “You don't wish death for a child, you never say: ‘God will­ing.'”

His ac­tion comes as na­tion­al­ist sen­ti­ment is run­ning high over a Turk­ish cross-bor­der mil­i­tary of­fen­sive against Syr­ian Kur­dish fight­ers that are af­fil­i­ated with Kur­dish rebels fight­ing in­side Tur­key. In re­cent weeks, chil­dren dressed in com­mando uni­forms or recit­ing na­tion­al­ist po­ems have been mak­ing ap­pear­ances in many events that he at­tends.

Yasar Oku­tan, a for­mer gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, ac­cused Er­do­gan in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view of us­ing them to in­crease votes in pres­i­den­tial and lo­cal elec­tions in 2019 and ques­tioned whether the pres­i­dent would say the same for his own grand­daugh­ter.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan holds Amine Ti­ras, a young girl in mil­i­tary uni­form as he speaks to his rul­ing party mem­bers, in Kahra­man­maras, Tur­key. Af­ter try­ing to com­fort the girl by kiss­ing her on both cheeks, Er­do­gan told the crowd that she would be would be hon­ored if she were ‘mar­tyred’ for her coun­try. (AP)

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