ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Opposition figures and lawmakers in Turkey slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday over remarks in which he wished martyrdom for a little girl in military uniform at a convention of his party.
“Mashallah. She has a flag too in her pocket. If she becomes a martyr, inshallah (God willing) they will lay the flag [on her],” Erdogan said upon seeing the child wearing a uniform of the Turkish special forces.
He was addressing the convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the city of Kahramanmaras.
The AKP audience was cheering in support of the army staging a cross-border offensive to dislodge the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the besieged enclave of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan.
The leader of the newly-formed nationalist right-wing IYI Party (Good Party), Meral Aksener, accused Erdogan of being on the same path as the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which the Turkish government supports despite the US and Israeli designation of the group as “terrorist.”
“He is following Hamas. I am calling on Mr. Erdogan to stop being a loudmouth. Get serious,” said Aksener who leads a faction that splintered from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for allying with the President.
Aksener was talking at the southern Hatay Province during a trip to show solidarity with the troops participating in the attack on Afrin, privately-owned Dogan agency reported.
The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, did not grant her access for a visit to the command center of operations targeting the Kurdish region.
There was no reaction from the main secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) at the time of publishing this report.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the only bloc that has opposed the campaign, was more critical of the President’s words.
“The mindset that abuses children by promising them death will lose,” a tweet on the party’s official feed read.
HDP Ertugrul Kurkcu said, for Erdogan it was now children’s turn to demonstrate a legitimacy for the war, reminding that International law bans drafting kids into an army.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany