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Turkey PM threatens to slap protester

Turkey PM threatens to slap protestor

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to slap a young man if “he booed the country’s prime minister,” media reports say.
A video, released by Turkey’s Dogan News Agency, was apparently taken during Erdogan’s visit on Wednesday to the eastern town of Soma, where a mining disaster on Tuesday killed almost 300 miners.
In the video, Erdogan walks with his bodyguards as Soma citizens around him boo. Then he approaches a young man and allegedly says: “If you boo this country’s prime minister, you get slapped.”
The accident in Soma has been controversial not only because of lax safety standard accusations targeting the government, but also incidents involving an aide of Erdogan and the prime minister himself during his Soma visit.
Photos showing Yusuf Yerkel, an adviser to Erdogan, kicking a protester held down by Turkish police during the visit emerged earlier in the week.
Confirming the photo’s authenticity, Yerkel said in a press statement on Thursday that he was sorry “he could not keep his calm in the face of the provocations” in Soma.
In other videos from earlier in the week, Erdogan has allegedly slapped another citizen, who later confirmed the incident.
Shaky videos with different angles taken in a chaotic and crowded atmosphere make it difficult to detect the exact circumstances of the incident.
Protests have taken place in various Turkish cities as the extent of the disaster, with at least 298 deaths, becomes clear. Demonstrations have targeted mine owners, accusing them of ignoring safety standards and Erdogan’s government of being too close to businessmen and insensitive to the tragedy.

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