Erdoğan to TV Anchor Portakal: This Nation Will Hit You in the Back of Your Neck

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* Photograph: Cem Öksüz - Konya/AA

Click to read the article in Turkish / Kurdish

President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed to the people in Konya in a ceremony held to commemorate Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi today (December 17).

After his rallies in Denizli and İstanbul which took place on December 15 and 16, Erdoğan again took on main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Fox TV anchorperson Fatih Portakal, saying "If you do not know your place, this nation will hit you in the back of your neck."

He also mentioned Portakal using the words "orange, mandarin or citrus", referring to the anchorperson's surname, which means "orange" in English.

Erdoğan also mentioned the Gezi resistance, repeating the claim four years later that the protesters went into Bezmialem Mosque while carrying beer bottles and the Prime Minister's office in Dolmabahçe was looted.

Highlights from Erdoğan's speech are as follows:

'They entered mosque with beers, looted Prime Minister's office'

"They said 'Gezi'. They raised hell because 10 or 12 trees would be removed and planted elsewhere. We said, 'You are doing something wrong', they did not listen. Mr. Kemal went to Taksim Square.

"At the end, they brought these Gezi protesters in. No one will be able to make this nation pay a price. Some of them bemoan now, saying that 'My son is innocent'. If he is innocent, he goes out, if he is not, he pays the price. Because we did not forget July 15 (coup attempt in 2016).

'Somebody called orange or mandarin...'

"Mr. Kemal calls people to streets. Somebody, I do not know if he is orange, mandarin or citrus, calls people to streets.

"Know your place. If you do not know your place, this nation will hit you in the back of your neck. Nobody can play games with my nation's honor. That would cost them dear.

'You cannot run again, Mr. Kemal'

"Mr. Kemal, on July 15, you run away through tanks and went to Bakırköy Mayor's house. But you cannot run again.

"Use these words carefully, or you pay the price instantly. If you will do something, there will be polls on March 31. If you want it, work for it."

What did Portakal say?

While presenting the news on December 10, Portakal said,

"Here we go, let's protest these price increases, the increases in prices of natural gas with a peaceful protest demonstration. Come on, let's do it. Can we do it? How many people can take to the streets out of fear and concern? Can you please tell me, for God's sake, how many people can take to the streets? They are trying to take the individual and social opposition under pressure, they are trying to intimidate them.

"It is the most natural right, but it cannot be implemented. To be honest, it doesn't make any difference whether it is in France or Turkey."

Statements of Portakal were then reported as "inciting the people to take to the streets" by pro-government news outlets. Several criminal complaints have also been submitted against Portakal over these statements. (EKN/VK)


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