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 minister.
Erdoğan "urged" the journalist and Kılıçdaroğlu to continue with "this mindset."
"For this reason, this nation will never elect you as a government."