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POLITICS > Boo me and I'll slap you, Turkish PM Erdoğan warns protester

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New video footage has emerged in which Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seen warning a protester that he will "be slapped if he boos the prime minister," triggering more outcry on May 17, four days after the deadliest mining accident in Turkey's history.

Erdoğan was visiting the mining disaster-struck town of Soma when he engaged in a scuffle with protesters on May 14. After being booed and jeered by several people in the crowd, he entered a supermarket in pursuit of one protester, saying, "Come and boo me here to my face." 

In the footage showing the moments soon afterward, Erdoğan's arm appears to swing toward a man in the entrance of the supermarket, before he walks from the area along with his security team.

The man was later identified as Taner Kurucu, a young miner himself, who said the prime minister had landed an “unintentional” slap to his face, although he was not one of the protesters who was calling on Erdoğan to resign.

In the latest footage, Erdoğan is seen approaching another young man amid the protesters in Soma. "Don't behave rudely. What is done is done [in the Soma mine]. It's God's providence. If you boo the prime minister of this country, you get slapped," he is heard telling the man.

Another man from the group is then seen replying to Erdoğan's words: "Of course, we'll get slapped, Mr. Prime Minister. We love you so much, but we're suffering."

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Hüseyin Çelik, spokesperson of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), had dismissed the reports on the earlier footage from inside the supermarket as merely “claims.” 

May/17/2014

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