Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lashed out at a prominent journalist during a campaign rally in southern Turkey, calling her "shameless" and a "militant" for her earlier remarks the prime minister condemned as an "insult" to Muslims and his electorate.
Erdoğan's statement on Thursday when he was speaking before a crowd of
supporters in southern Turkish province of Malatya was viewed by many in
the social media as another attempt by the prime minister to publicly
belittle and target a journalist.
Although the prime minister didn't mention her name, he was referring to
Amberin Zaman, Taraf columnist and The Economist correspondent. While
interviewing main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on TV on
Wednesday, Zaman questioned if a "Muslim society is
able to question" the authorities. A smear campaign against Zaman was
launched on social media by pro-government users minutes after she made
the statement, condemning her for "insulting Islam and Muslims," as well
as supporters of the government.
Erdoğan openly targeted her in Malatya, calling her a "shameless militant woman disguised under the name of a journalist."
"Know your place," Erdoğan said. "They gave you a pen and you are
writing a column in a newspaper," the prime minister yelled in a bid to
defame the journalist. "And then they invite you to a TV channel owned
by Doğan media group and you insult at a society
of 99 percent Muslims." Doğan Holding owns the country's biggest media
holding and its owner Aydın Doğan is frequently at odds with the prime
Erdoğan "urged" the journalist and Kılıçdaroğlu to continue with "this mindset."
"For this reason, this nation will never elect you as a government."
The Economist immediately released a statement, saying that Zaman has been the newspaper's correspondent in Turkey for
15 years and is widely respected.
"We stand firmly by her and her
reporting," The Economist said, adding that the intimidation of journalists has no place in a democracy.
"Under Mr Erdoğan," the statement continued, "Turkey has become an increasingly difficult place for
Know your place you shameless woman, Erdoğan tells journalist
Taraf columnist and The Economist correspondent Amberin Zaman.
August 07, 2014, Thursday/ 18:48:14/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ISTANBUL