Thursday, May 15, 2014

Erdoğan allegedly punches a protester in Soma, his aide kicks a mourner

    Thursday, May 15, 2014   No comments

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan allegedly punched a young man several times in Soma on Wednesday, after a large crowd angrily protested the recent mining disaster in which an explosion and fire killed at least 282 mineworkers.

Yusuf Yerkel, advisor to Tayyip Erdogan,
kicking mourner. Photo: MEHMET ERMIN

Many people in the crowd protested Erdoğan's presence, shouting that he is a “murderer” and a “thief,” reportedly forcing the prime minister to take shelter in a grocery store. However, some reports claim that Erdoğan entered the store not to avoid the protests but rather to follow -- and subsequently punch -- a young man who had shouted at him outside the store.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Lütfü Türkkan has claimed that he has spoken to the man who Erdoğan punched, saying that the young man's name is Taner Kuruca.
Sharing the details of the conversation via micro blogging site Twitter, Türkkan wrote: “I spoke to Kuruca. The man said that he was shopping at the store when Erdoğan attacked him, thinking that he was a protester. He said that he was also beaten by Erdoğan's bodyguards.. Kuruca told me that only thing that he clearly remembers was that Erdoğan assaulted him."

Reports allege that the young man, wearing a blue t-shirt, chanted slogans critical of Erdoğan and then entered the store. Erdoğan then followed the protester inside, grabbed the man and then punched him two or three times, according to eyewitness reports.

The owner of the store corroborated the reports, saying that he saw surveillance camera footage showing that Erdoğan was punching a man, adding, "The bodyguards took away the footage and suggested that I not mention the issue."


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